Friday, December 23, 2011
December 22, 2011: Amazing Result in Multiple-Count Felony and Operating with a Restricted Controlled Substance Case
SJZ was involved in a very serious accident with another vehicle that resulted in numerous serious charges: 2 Counts of Second Degree Reckless Endangerment (felony charges); Operating with a Restricted Controlled Substance in System (marijuana); Violation of Absolute Sobriety (client was under age); Refusal of Chemical Test; Failure to Yield Right of Way; and even a Seatbelt Violation. Initially, things could not have looked more bleak for SJZ. He was possibly facing substantial prison time on the felony charges and lengthy periods of license revoation on some of the other charges. But after sifting through what seemed like a mountain of evidence against SJZ, Dennis Melowski discovered several promising legal issues related to SJZ's blood draw by law enforcement, in addition to several other issues in SJZ's favor. These issues were brought to the attention of the judge through various motions Dennis filed. A lengthy hearing was held, during which Dennis had an opportunity to successfully cross-examine a number of key witnesses for the State. At the close of the hearing, the judge said he was taking Dennis' arguments under advisement and would issue a decision at a later time, given the novelty of some of the arguments Dennis had made. But before the judge cleared the courtroom, he made several comments to the prosecutor which seemed to indicate he was leaning towards agreeing with Dennis. Immediately following the hearing, the prosecutor asked to speak with Dennis in a nearby conference room. The prosecutor knew that what initially seemed like a slam-dunk case was now anything but. The case was settled on the spot and the outcome couldn't have been much better for SJZ. Under the terms of the agreement, one of the original felony counts was reduced to the misdemeanor offense of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. All six remaining charges were dismissed completely. SJZ was placed on probation for one year and was ordered to pay a fine of $350.00. He received no jail time; no loss of license; and no trace of this incident on his driver record. What's more, if SJZ successfully completes his probation, the State agreed to expungement of his record, meaning the misdemeanor offense would essentially be erased as if it never happened in the first place. A real result if ever there was one.
When you pick up a second offense OWI charge, it becomes a criminal offense with a mandatory jail sentence. For many people, this is a terrifying realization. It certainly was for our client, JEA. A successful businessman, JEA could not imagine being forced to spend any amount of time in jail, much less the 20 to 30 days that the local sentencing guidelines called for. Not only would such a sentence have significantly tarnished JEA's reputation, it was an unimaginable length of time to be "locked up." Our mission was simple: do whatever we possibly could to get JEA's original charge reduced to a non-criminal charge that would involve no jail time. Through aggressive litigation of two legal issues in JEA's case, and shrewd negotiations with the prosecutor, Dennis Melowski was able to get the OWI-2nd charge reduced to the 2-point traffic offense of Improper Parking on Roadway. JEA paid a fine of $481.50 for this offense but never had to spend even a minute in jail. Mission accomplished.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Our client, CLN, came to us with an OWI-1st in which her breath test result was reported as .13. The case was further complicated by the fact that the police beleived that CLN had been involved in an accident in the parking lot of the tavern she had been at earlier and left the scene. CLN had several immediate concerns when she hired us. First, she needed to avoid the automatic administrative suspension of her license that was to be imposed 30 days from the date of her arrest. If the suspension took effect, her job would have been severely jeopardized. More importantly, she needed to avoid a drunk driving conviction which would stain her record (and career) for life. Dennis Melowski accomplished both goals. By exposing police failure to comply with the requirements of the administarative suspension process, the Department of Transportation did not impose the administrative suspension in CLN's case. This meant CLN's driving privileges remained fully intact while Dennis litigated her case in court. CLN's second goal of avoiding a drunk driving conviction altogether was accomplished just 6 days before her scheduled jury trial, when Dennis convinced the prosecutor to reduce the original OWI charge to the minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. How? Among other factors, the prosecutor learned of another case Dennis successfully resolved in a neighboring jurisdiction--a case with far more difficult circumstances than CLN's--and believed he would not be successful in getting a conviction at trial, given the comparatively favorable facts in CLN's case. Rather than risk losing the entire case to Dennis at trial, the prosecutor agreed to drop the drunk driving charge. CLN paid a fine of $187.90, but otherwise suffered no consequences from this incident and never lost her license for a single day. Most importantly, CLN successfully avoided the life-altering stigma of being a convicted drunk driver.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
When TMR first contacted Dennis Melowski, he told an all-too-familiar story. He had already spoken with several other attorneys who told him there was no hope in trying to fight his OWI-3rd case. There was just too much evidence to overcome--- a bad accident and a .224 blood test result. The advice TMR received from these other attorneys was sadly typical: plead guilty and they would argue for a lesser jail sentence on his behalf. This was devastating news to TMR. You see, as a delivery driver whose job required a valid CDL, a conviction for a third OWI would mean lifetime disqualification of TMR's commercial privileges. Not only would this mean the loss of TMR's current job, it also meant he would never again be able to drive commercially. Fortunately, TMR called Dennis before he followed the advice of these other attorneys. After listening to TMR's story, Dennis suspected the police officer did not have sufficient evidence to draw TMR's blood in the first place. This suspicion was confirmed through aggressive and thorough cross-examination of the officer at TMR's DOT suspension hearing. Dennis brought the issue he discovered to the attention of the prosecutor assigned to TMR's case. After tough and lengthy negotiations, the prosecutor agreed that Dennis was right---the prospect of getting a conviction on the drunk driving charge was slim if there was no justification for the blood draw. Dennis convinced the prosecutor to drop the drunk driving charges. In exchange, TMR plead no contest to a non-alcohol-related, non-traffic misdemeanor offense that will not even appear on TMR's driver record. TMR received no jail time, no license revocation and was not even ordered to pay a fine. More importantly, however, TMR's career as a commercial driver was saved. Thank God he didn't listen to those other attorneys.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Prison is terrifying. Living in a restricted and confined space, for years at a time, away from your loved ones, is a frightening prospect. And that was exactly what GSK was facing when he contacted our office. GSK was charged with a Felony OWI -5th Offense, where his blood alcohol level was .136. Felony OWI's are difficult to defend because the blood alcohol limit goes from the standard .08 level down to .02, making the State's case much easier to prove. On top of this was GSK's realization that the State was insisting on a prison sentence, as GSK's arrest occurred in a county notorious for handing down harsh sentences in felony OWI cases. GSK was beside himself. Prison would mean losing his job, his home, his freedom, and potentially his family. While preparing for trial, Attorney Singh noticed a potentially serious error in the blood test. He sat down with Attorney Melowski and they drafted a game plan for trial. On the day of trial, Attorney Singh executed the plan flawlessly. The defense caught the prosecutor completely off guard, to the point that the judge threw out GSK's blood test result in the middle of trial. More significantly, the judge instructed the jury to completely disregard all testimony from the State's blood test expert because of the significant problem Attorney Singh exposed with GSK's blood test. The jury came back in 10 minutes with a verdict of 'not guilty'. The client was reduced to tears of happiness and relief when the verdict was read. He had spent the last 9 months preparing for the prospect of prison. He thought his life, as he had known it, was over. However, because of Attorney Singh's diligence GSK enjoyed the rest of the week working on his farm and spending time with his family--completely exonerated.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Often, potential clients seek us out because of what they have at stake. Many hire us simply because a drunken driving conviction will land them in the unemployment line. Take for example our client, DRK. DRK works for a utilities company. This means he would have to traverse all of Wisconsin (and parts of Michigan) at any given date and time. His company made clear to him that a conviction for Operating While Intoxicated or any limitations on his driving privileges would mean his termination. DRK had a deplorable set of facts staring him in the face. He was involved in a two-car accident and failed the field sobriety tests on video. Making things more difficult was the fact that DRK refused the chemical test. A refusal often complicates things because it makes a conviction much easier for the prosecutor. So, when Attorney Singh got a hold of County of V. v. DRK, he had to get creative. And that is exactly what he did. By closely analyzing all the paperwork completed by the police, he noticed a very minor error. However, Attorney Singh was able to exploit this error to the point where he challenged the County’s entire case. The County reluctantly agreed to amend DRK’s charge to a reckless driving and he was able to keep his license. DRK spent nearly a year worrying about how the loss of his job would affect him and his family. But thanks to ,Attorney Singh a huge weight was lifted from his shoulders.
Few cases have such an insurmountable set of facts as State of Wisconsin v. TGR. In TGR, the client had an accident, admitted to drinking 7 to 8 beers, failed all the field sobriety tests, provided a blood sample of .266, and was charged with Failure to Notify Police of an Accident, Failure to Wear Seatbelt, and Hit and Run in addition to the drunk driving charges. This was further complicated by the facts that TGR was a commercial driver and this was his second offense, meaning he was facing lifetime disqualification of his commercial privileges if convicted. The State originally recommended 40 days jail and an 18 month license revocation, which also meant the end of TGR’s commercial driving career. However, Attorney Singh, knowing what was at stake, would not settle for an OWI conviction. There were certain facts in TGR’s case which made Attorney Singh question the legitimacy of the blood test result. He focused on this area and picked the case apart. He realized the State could not definitely prove what TGR’s blood alcohol level was at the time of driving, since the time of the accident was unknown. Attorney Singh pointed this out to the prosecutor and the case was amended to a reckless driving. This meant TGR spent no time in jail, never lost his license, avoided a drunken driving conviction, and most importantly, kept his job. Even with that bleak set of facts, TGR had never given up hope. And thanks to Attorney Singh, TGR could not be happier or more thankful.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
In the case of City of C. v. A.M., the client was originally charged with Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated and Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration. As a lineman for a power company and CDL holder, the client needed to avoid any type of alcohol related driving conviction to keep his job. Based upon a very successful cross-examination of the arresting officer at the client's administrative suspension hearing, Dennis Melowski was able to establish that the officer could not have possibly conducted a proper 20 minute observation period of the client prior to the breath test, a prerequisite under Wisconsin law. This deficiency, among many other incosistencies Dennis was able to expose in the officer's version of events, led the prosecutor to agree to drastically reduce the original drunk driving charges--all the way down to the minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. Other than paying a fine, the client suffered no consequences related to his arrest and never lost his license for even a single day. His job, and career, were saved.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
In State of Wisconsin v. S.M., the original charge of OWI-2nd Offense was reduced to a non-traffic misdemeanor which will not even appear on the client's driver record and carries no revocation or suspension of driving privileges. The remaining charge of PAC-2nd Offense (.146 blood test result) was dismissed. The client was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, but otherwise suffered no consequences from this offense---no probation, no jail, not even a fine. This incredible result was achieved shortly before the client's scheduled jury trial when Dennis Melowski disclosed to the prosecutor the evidence he had regarding the flawed testing process of the laboratory used to test his client's blood sample. In short, the prosecutor did not believe she could obtain a drunk driving conviction in light of the evidence Dennis was able to uncover. Having completely avoided a second offense OWI conviction, the client was thrilled with the outcome.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
At the jury trial of City of M. v. S.B., Dennis Melowski was able to convince a jury to find his client Not Guilty of both Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated and Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration. Despite having to contend with a .12 breath test result, a squad video and several alleged admissions of guilt by his client, Dennis was able to severely undermine the arresting officer's credibility during cross-examination. This was done by showing significant contradictions between the officer's trial testimony and his testimony at prior hearings, as well as using the officer's own squad video to disprove some of the officer's claims about his client. What's more, Dennis had done an extensive background check of the machine used to test his client's breath and was able to expose several problems with its reliability. In the end, the jury took only 12 minutes to reach their decision. Afterwards, four of the jurors approached Dennis outside the courtroom to ask him for his business card. Most importantly, though, Dennis' client walked out of the courthouse completely exonerated!
Monday, August 22, 2011
In State of Wisconsin v. K.S., Dennis Melowski convinced the prosecutor to reduce the original charge of OWI-3rd to Inattentive Driving and to dismiss the remaining charge of PAC-3rd (.173 blood test result). The reduced charge of Inattentive Driving is a non-alcohol-related, minor traffic offense that involves no suspension or revocation of driving privileges. The client paid a fine of $287.90, but otherwise suffered no consequences from his arrest. If convicted of either of the original charges, the client would have been been sentenced to several months in jail; would have had his license revoked for two to three years; would have had to install an ignition interlock in all of his vehicles; would have paid a fine nearly 10 times the fine he ended up with; and would have had to complete lengthy counseling. Most significantly, the client was facing lifetime disqualification of his commercial driving privileges. The fantastic result achieved in this case saved the client's lifelong career of commercial driving. He couldn't be happier!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
When someone hires Melowski & Associates to defend their repeat offense drunk driving charge, we not only analyze their present case, we also look back to the client's previous convictions to see if there are any challenges that can be made there, too. This can lead to incredibly beneficial results, which is precisely what happened in State of Wisconsin v. R.S. The client came to us with an OWI-3rd offense (with a .32 blood test result), a serious criminal charge with a substantial amount of jail time. In reviewing the client's previous two cases, however, Attorney Sarvan Singh discovered a serious defect in the client's second offense case from several years earlier. Attorney Singh brought this to the attention of the judge in the current case and argued that the client's second offense conviction should be thrown out and should not be counted. After hearing Attorney Singh's arguments, the judge agreed. The client's second offense would not count. That left only the client's first offense from 1998, which was too old to count under the repeater statute. This resulted in the client's original charge being reduced all the way down to a first offense, which is a non-criminal charge with no jail time.
In State of Wisconsin v. B.S., Attorney Sarvan Singh successfully convinced the judge to suppress (throw out) the marijuana found on his client that led to a felony bail jumping charge. Attorney Singh was able to successfully persuade the judge that the search of his client performed by the police was unconstitutional and illegal. As a result of the judge's ruling, this serious felony charge was completely dismissed.
Friday, July 8, 2011
In County of S. v. J.R., the original charge of OWI-1st was reduced to Reckless Driving and the remaining charge of PAC-1st (.10 blood test result) was dismissed. The client paid a $375.00 fine, but otherwise suffered no consequences as a result of this incident. The client avoided an alcohol-related conviction and never lost his license for even one day. This outstanding result came about due to aggressive litigation of the legality of the client's arrest. After Attorney Melowski's cross-examination of the arresting officer at a motion hearing, the judge made several pointed comments to the prosecutor about the weakness of the prosecution's case, prompting this resolution. Because the client's job with the county highway department required him to have a valid commercial driver's license, a conviction on either of the original charges would have resulted in his immediate termination. The successful outcome in this case saved the client's 15-year career with the highway department. Needless to say, he was thrilled.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
We are almost to the half-way point of 2011 and a remarkable total of 16 Melowski & Associates clients have had their original DUI charges dismissed or reduced to non-alcohol-related offenses this year. Several others have been resolved in other very successful or creative ways (see June 9 blog entry, for example). A torrid pace, indeed!
In Town of B. v. M.P., the client's original charge of OWI-1st (.12 test result) was reduced to a municipal ordinance violation that was non-traffic related. The remaining charge of PAC-1st was dismissed. The client paid a fine, but otherwise suffered no consequences, including no trace of this incident on his driver record. This was critical for this client given his employment as an over-the-road truck driver for the past 23 years.
Attorney Dennis Melowski obtained an absolutely amazing result for his client in an OWI-7th case. In 99% of cases, this charge alone would carry a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. But the client was in even bigger trouble when he first hired Dennis. In addition to his OWI-7th charge (a serious felony), the client was also facing charges of: PAC-7th (.189 blood test result), Felony Bail Jumping, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Damage to Property, Possession of THC, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Refusal of Chemical test. This was an aggravated case not only because of the nature and extent of the charges, but also because the client was allegedly VERY uncooperative with the police. Despite virtually every possible card stacked against him, however, Dennis was able to raise several novel legal challenges. After relentless litigation of numerous pre-trial issues, Dennis negotiated a stunning resolution. In exchange for his client pleading no contest to the OWI-7th offense and Possession of THC charges, all remaining charges were dismissed. But that's not the best part. The prosecutor promised (and the judge adopted) a 7-month jail sentence with work release; no probation; minimum license revocation of 24 months; and forfeiture of the defendant's previously- posted cash bail as full satisfaction of the fine. What's more is that the judge and prosecutor agreed to back-date the client's license revocation to the point that he would only have a 45-day wait for an occupational license, instead of the one-year wait he had originally been facing. After witnessing this outcome in court, another attorney stated to Dennis that this was probably the best sentence he had ever seen in 20-plus years of being a lawyer.
In the case of State of Wisconsin v. B.W., Attorney Sarvan Singh obtained complete vindication for his client when the jury found him Not Guilty of both OWI-2nd and PAC-2nd. Despite having to contend with a .20 blood test result, Attorney Singh was able to severely compromise the State's case through very effective cross-examination of the arresting officer and shrewd trial tactics.
In State of Wisconsin v. I.M., Attorney Sarvan Singh filed a motion to suppress all of the evidence in his client's case due to the illegal actions of the police. After a very contentious hearing in which the officers were grilled extensively by Attorney Singh, the judge ruled in the client's favor and ordered all evidence thrown out. This would include the results of the field sobriety tests, the blood test result, statements made by the client and the marijuana and drug paraphernalia the police found on the client when they searched him. It will only be a matter of time before all charges against this client will be dismissed.
In County of W. v. M.K., the original charge of OWI-1st was reduced to the minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. This is a non-alcohol related offense that carries no loss of license. The remaining charges of PAC-1st and Failure to Notify Police of Accident were dismissed completely. The client paid a small fine, but otherwise suffered no consequences as a result of this incident.
At the jury trial of County of W. v. J.N., the jury found the client Not Guilty of both OWI-1st (.11 breath test result) and PAC-1st. During the trial, Attorney Dennis Melowski was able to not only overcome the prosecution's key piece of evidence (the officer's squad video), he was able to completely turn the tables on the prosecutor and use the video to his client's advantage. Using the video, Dennis was able to catch the officer red-handed in several breaches of protocol, in addition to exposing obvious contradictions between what the officer testified to in court and what was actually on the video. By the end of the trial, the jury had obviously had enough of the officer's half-truths. As a result of the jury's Not Guilty verdicts, both charges were completely dismissed. Client was completely exonerated and walked away from this case as if it had never even happened in the first place.
The client in County of M. v. A.J. was found Not Guilty of OWI-1st (.16 breath test result), PAC-1st and was even found Not Guilty of the companion Speeding charge that was the original reason for the stop. Dennis Melowski was able to thoroughly destroy the arresting officer's credibility on almost every key issue in the case. Of particular effectiveness was the use of the officer's reports from other arrests he had made. These were used on cross-examination to substantially undermine the truthfulness of some of the officer's claim's in the client's case. Client was completely vindicated on all charges.
In County of B. v. M.L., the client was charged with OWI-1st (.13 blood test result), PAC-1st, Operating Left of Center and Failure to Keep Vehicle Under Control. Through some very innovative lawyering, and even more innovative negotiating tactics, what looked to initially be a very strong case case for the prosecution turned out to be anything but. In fact, after going over the head of the assigned prosecutor to the District Attorney himself, Dennis Melowski was able to negotiate a resolution where the OWI and PAC charges were completely dismissed. The client plead no contest to the two remaining minor traffic tickets and paid a small fine. The client avoided any revocation of his license and has no trace of an alcohol-related incident on his driver record.
After fighting with the prosecution for more than a year in the case of State of Wisconsin v. L.B., expert lawyering finally won the day. By raising countless legal and factual challenges, the case was weakened sufficiently that the prosecutor did not believe she could obtain a conviction at trial on the original charge of Operating While Impaired by Drugs. The case was resolved by the client pleading No Contest to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving. She suffered no loss of license and, more importantly, was able to avoid the stigma of having a drug-related driving conviction on her record.
In State of Wisconsin v. A.G., two motions were filed on behalf of the client seeking suppression of all evidence against the client due to illegal actions by the police. After a hearing was held, the judge agreed with the defense motions and all evidence was ordered thrown out, thereby making a conviction impossible. The judge ordered the charges of OWI-2nd (with a .188 blood test result) and PAC-2nd to be dismissed completely. The client walked away from the case completely exonerated.
In Town of W. v. M.S., the client was involved in an accident and received four charges: OWI-1st, PAC-1st, Hit and Run, and Failure to Notify Police of an Accident. Through intense investigation and litigation, the prosecution's case began to crumble, to the point that it was obvious they wouldn't be able to obtain a conviction on the drunk driving charges. A deal was negotiated where the original OWI-1st charge was reduced to Reckless Driving. The remaining charges of PAC-1st and Hit and Run were dismissed. The client completely avoided an alcohol-related driving conviction and suffered no suspension or revocation of his driving privileges. This was critical for this client given his commercial driver status.
On the morning of the jury trial in State of Wisconsin v. D.D, Dennis Melowski exposed so many weaknesses in the State's case against his client that the prosecutor agreed to reduce the original charge of OWI-3rd (with a .233 blood test result) to the non-traffic misdemeanor offense of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. The reduced charge will not even appear on the client's driver record. The remaining charge of PAC-3rd was dismissed. Client completely avoided any revocation of his driver's license. Case was resolved with one year of probation.
At the jury trial of County of S. v D.J., Attorney Sarvan Singh was so successful in dismantling the County's case against his client that the prosecutor offered to reduce the OWI charge (with a .13 blood test result) to Reckless Driving---in the middle of trial. The remaining charge of PAC-1st was dismissed. The client suffered no revocation of her license and completely avoided an alcohol- related conviction.
During the jury trial of State of Wisconsin v. S.F., attorney Dennis Melowski damaged the State's case against his client so heavily that the prosecutor agreed to reduce the original charge of OWI-1st (with a .17 breath test result) to the minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. The remaining charge of PAC-1st was dismissed completely. The client paid a fine, but completely avoided an alcohol-related driving conviction and never lost his license for one day.
In State of Wisconsin v. C.C., the original charge of OWI-2nd (with a .17 blood test result) was reduced to the non-traffic misdemeanor offense of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. This charge will not even appear on the client's driver record. The remaining charge of PAC-2nd was dismissed. Client completely avoided any revocation of his driver' license. Case was resolved with one year of probation.
In County of S. v. C.S., the original charge of OWI-1st was reduced to Reckless Driving and the remaining charge of PAC-1st was dismissed completely. Client avoided an alcohol-related driving conviction and never lost her license for one day.
In City of A. v. D.K., charges of OWI-1st and PAC-1st were reduced to the minor traffic offenses of Speeding and Defective Speedometer. Client completely avoided any type of alcohol-related driving conviction and never lost his license for one day.
As a simple internet search will quickly reveal, there are many, many lawyers in Wisconsin who claim to handle DUI cases. But how good are they? What types of results do they get in their cases? A lot of lawyers will successfully camouflage a poor or mediocre track record by talking about how "experienced" they are or how many cases they have "handled", without telling you how many cases they have actually won. At Melowski & Associates, we take a different approach. We have a record of success in defending DUI cases that cannot be matched, by anyone. This is why we created the Real Results Tracker---so you can see for yourself.