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.