Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 18, 2012: Make That 13 in 14 Months: Still Another CDL Client Beats Drunk Driving Charge

The case of County of C. v. NLB  marked the 13th time in the last 14 months that a Melowski & Associates CDL client beat a drunk driving charge. It is also the 11th time this year alone that one of our clients has successfully avoided the life-altering consequences of being a convicted drunk driver. There is not a firm in the entire state that can demonstrate this type of success in the field of drunk driving defense.

This case was not an easy one. NLB had been stopped for alleged repeated swerving (caught on camera); allegedly failed the field sobriety tests (also on camera); and ultimately took a blood test that was over the legal limit. Beyond that, the arrest occurred in a county that has been historically tough on drunk drivers and was being prosecuted by an assistant district attorney with significant experience. It's no wonder this case went all the way to a jury trial---almost. On the morning of the jury trial, right before the start of jury selection, Dennis Melowski shared his hand with the prosecutor. Dennis disclosed all of the ammunition he had gathered from his open records request to the lab who did the blood testing. Dennis had sifted through dozens and dozens of lab documents and found significant problems with the gas chromatograph (machine) used to test NLB's blood sample. These problems occurred the very day NLB's sample had been tested. Even the prosecutor acknowledged that he had never seen such problems before. A conviction on the drunk driving charge was in grave doubt. The case was settled on the spot. The drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, NLB plead no contest to the non-alcohol-related, minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. He paid a fine of less than $200.00, but otherwise suffered no consequences. He never lost his license for even a single day and his commercial driving career was saved.   

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 10, 2012: The Firm's Amazing Streak Continues: Another CDL Client Avoids Drunk Driving Conviction

When DAH's drunk driving charge was reduced to the minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving, he became the twelfth Melowski & Associates CDL client in the last fourteen months to successfully avoid the career-ending consequences of a drunk driving conviction. This truly remarkable streak is one that no other firm in the state can come close to matching. So how did DAH's fantastic result come about? We knew from the beginning that this was a case that would have to be fought every step of the way, given the fact that DAH was employed as a commercial truck driver for a recycling company. His company had made it clear that any type of suspension or disqualification of his driving privileges would result in his immediate termination. This meant quick action had to be taken to prevent the administrative suspension the DOT would impose just thirty days after DAH's arrest. Fortunately, Dennis Melowski knows exactly what needs to be done in this type of situation and was able to convince the judge to stay the suspension pending the outcome of the case in court. The stay of suspension turned out to be critical since Dennis ended up slugging the case out in court with the prosecutor for a full year. From a contested municipal court trial to an appeal to circuit court, Dennis kept fighting for DAH until finally, just a few days before DAH's scheduled jury trial, the prosecutor decided he had had enough. Dennis had exposed enough weaknesses in the prosecutor's case that the prosecutor believed a conviction in front of a jury was in real jeopardy, especially given what he knew of Dennis' record of success in jury trials. An outstanding deal was reached. DAH's original charge of OWI-First Offense was reduced to the non-alcohol-related, minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. The remaining charge of PAC-First Offense (due to DAH's .11 breath test) was dismissed entirely. Aside from paying a fine, DAH suffered no other penalties. He never lost his license for a single day and his commercial privileges were completely spared. He kept his job as if this unfortunate incident never happened. Yet another incredibly satisfied client.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 4, 2012: Client Sentenced to One Year in the County Jail with Work-Release in OWI-Homicide Case

In the field of drunk driving defense, there is no more serious charge than OWI-Homicide. With potential imprisonment of 25 years and a fine of up to $100,000.00, the stakes literally can't get any higher. In the vast majority of cases where people are convicted of such a charge, they receive a prison sentence, typically a long one. On the rare occasion when someone is lucky enough to get a non-prison sentence, it is usually a case where the victim was a close friend or family member of the accused and the victim's family is supportive of the defendant. In cases, however, where the victim was a stranger and the surviving family is out for vengeance, a lengthy prison term is a near certainty. It was the latter situation that our client, RAP, tragically found himself in.

Accused of driving off the road a considerable distance, damaging several road signs in the process, RAP ultimately lost control of his vehicle, fully crossed the centerline and struck another vehicle. The driver of that vehicle was killed instantly. On top of all that, RAP's blood test showed an alcohol level of .19. When the case landed on the prosecutor's desk, he took a very hard-line position. He wanted RAP to go to prison for 10 years, despite the fact that RAP had no prior record of any kind and was extremely remorseful. What's more, the victim's family members wanted an even longer sentence, the maximum the law allowed. At the age of 60, RAP thought his life, as he knew it, was over. Judges have a long history of handing down very harsh sentences in cases just like this.

Fortunately, Dennis Melowski has a well-established track record of obtaining remarkable results in the toughest of cases. Dennis understands that some cases are won at trial and others are won at sentencing. Although RAP had a very difficult set of facts to present to a jury, he had a very compelling set of facts to present to the judge at sentencing. With this in mind, Dennis carefully crafted his plan. After getting RAP enrolled in a well-regarded treatment program, Dennis also solicited the support of countless friends, co-workers and family members to provide character references on RAP's behalf. In addition, several expert sentencing consultants (including a former employee of the State prison system) were retained to provide insight to the judge about the innovative sentence Dennis was suggesting and why it would accomplish so much more than just locking RAP up and throwing away the key.

At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing (which lasted several hours) the judge was so convinced by Dennis' arguments that he did what is almost unheard of in a case like this. Not only would RAP not receive a long prison sentence, the judge decided that he would not receive a prison sentence at all. Instead, RAP was ordered to spend 12 months in the local county jail, with full work-release privileges. This meant that RAP would only be spending his nights in jail. The judge also said RAP could be released on electronic monitoring (the "bracelet") for the last 3 months of his sentence, meaning for the last 3 months RAP will be in his own home. With this stunning sentence, RAP kept his job as an electrician and gets to see his wife every day. RAP's life, as he knew it, was saved. He couldn't possibly be any happier.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March 23, 2012: Jury Completely Exonerates Former State senator Randy Hopper of Drunk Driving Charge; Local Paper States Dennis Melowski "Dominated the Trial"

Successfully defending a drunk driving charge against an ordinary, publicly anonymous citizen is hard enough. Defending the same charge against a former public official who is largely reviled in his own community is exponentially more difficult. Not only do the allegations themselves have to be challenged, the public perception and desire for vengeance must be overcome as well. In short, the successful defense of recalled state senator Randy Hopper was no easy task. Surely, the public at large expected the jury to convict. The media had already obtained a conviction in the court of public opinion with their biased reporting in the several months preceding the trial.

But Dennis Melowski was undaunted. He truly believed in his client and was highly motivated to restore his unfairly tarnished reputation. Although there were three citizen witnesses against Mr. Hopper, on top of police testimony and video evidence, Dennis knew something wasn't right with the prosecution's case. Too many things just didn't add up. Through extensive investigation of the witnesses against Mr. Hopper, many issues were exposed that called their credibility into question, including the arresting officer's.These issues were raised throughout the trial in Dennis' relentless cross-examinations of the prosecution witnesses. The local newspaper even took note of Dennis' effectiveness, indicating he "dominated the trial" on day one ( By the conclusion of the trial on the second day, Dennis had thoroughly dismantled the prosecution's case from top to bottom. The buzz in the courthouse was that Mr. Hopper would be acquitted based on the fantastic job Dennis had done. After a relatively short deliberation, the jury returned their verdict of not guilty on the drunk driving charge. The jury even returned a verdict of not guilty on the charge of Operating Left of Center, showing their utter rejection of every charge brought against Mr. Hopper. He was completely exonerated (

Mr. Hopper's vindication received substantial media coverage, including being the lead story on the TMJ4 (Milwaukee) evening news, which included an interview at Dennis' home the evening of the verdict ( The acquittal was also reported nationally on and numerous newspapers and websites across the country.

Personal Comment by Dennis Melowski: I don't make a habit of providing personal commentary on our clients' victories in court, but I feel the need to do so here, given the many unique circumstances of Randy's case and the attention it has received. Over the last 6 months I have gotten to know Randy well, to the point that I would now consider him a friend as well as a client. Although we differ politically, I never doubted his innocence---not for a minute. What Randy has had to go through over the course of the last year ---the vile attacks on his reputation, the threats on his life, the threats against his children---are things that no one should ever have to experience. He is a good and decent person. He deserved this vindication and I am thankful for the role I played in providing it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

March 19, 2012: OWI-2nd Reduced to Minor Traffic Offense and Non-Traffic Violation

BAK had finally found the job he was looking for, as a Senior Customer Zone Technician for a telecommunications company. The job paid well, but more importantly, provided excellent health care benefits for BAK and his young family. BAK's friends knew how much his new job meant to BAK, so they invited him out to celebrate. After a fun day of boating with his buddies, being arrested for drunk driving was the furthest thing on BAK's mind. But in the process of loading his boat on his trailer, BAK allegedly struck another vehicle in the parking lot. The police were called to the scene and BAK was ultimately arrested for drunk driving, unfortunately his second offense. After failing the field sobriety tests (on camera) and taking a blood test which showed an alcohol level of .166, BAK's world seemed like it was crashing in on him. He knew his new job required that he drive a company truck and possess fully valid driving privileges at all times. A conviction for a second OWI would mean his immediate termination. He was also looking at a fairly stiff jail sentence and mandatory ignition interlock device. He had to do something. Fortunately, a local attorney BAK knew was familiar with Dennis Melowski's unmatched success in defending drunk driving cases and told BAK to give Dennis a call. When Dennis listened to BAK's version of events, he knew there was hope. Through careful questioning of the arresting officer at BAK's DOT suspension hearing, this hope was confirmed. Dennis was able to lay the groundwork for several legal issues he could use as leverage with the prosecutor. These issues, combined with some important evidence the police failed to preserve, ultimately led to a fantastic resolution. One of BAK's original charges (OWI-2nd) was reduced to the minor traffic offense of Unsafe Backing of Vehicle, a 2-point ticket that carries only a small fine. The remaining charge (PAC-2nd) was reduced to Boating While Intoxicated, a non-traffic offense that carries no loss of license and will not even appear on BAK's driver record. He paid a fine of $393.50, but otherwise suffered no consequences. He served no jail; never lost his license for even a single day; avoided the mandatory ignition interlock device; and paid a fine that was about a thousand dollars less than the fine of his original charge. Most importantly, BAK's new job was saved. He couldn't be happier.