Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 28, 2012: OWI-1st Reduced to Inattentive Driving

As an employee at a nuclear power facility, our client, JJK, requires a high level of security clearance. A conviction for any type of alcohol-related driving offense would severely jeopardize that. So when JJK picked up his first OWI offense he knew he had to do something about it if he wanted to continue his promising career. Faced with a .159 blood test result, JJK knew he had to find somebody with a long history of success dealing with such challenging evidence. Dennis Melowski was his man. By closely examining the officer's squad video, Dennis believed that the officer did not have a valid basis to stop JJK in the first place. Although the officer claimed he stopped JJK for speeding, it was not based on a radar or laser reading. Rather, the officer "visually estimated" JJK's speed. However, when Dennis watched the officer's squad video, he noticed that the officer did not have a sufficient opportunity to see JJK's vehicle to make a reliable "visual estimate" of his speed. Dennis retained an expert, a retired sheriff's deputy, to testify about the requirements necessary for a reliable visual estimate of speed. They were simply not present in JJK's case. Dennis filed a motion to this effect and the case was set for a hearing. Before the hearing took place, however, the prosecutor agreed to drop the drunk driving charges in exchange for an Inattentive Driving ticket, which is a non-alcohol-related offense that carries no loss of license and only 4 points. JJK paid a fine but otherwise suffered no consequences from this incident. He never lost his license for even a single day. Another promising career saved.