Friday, June 22, 2012

June 18, 2012: An Absolutely Unheard of Result Obtained for Felony Client: OWI-6th Reduced to Reckless Driving

As our Real Results Tracker amply demonstrates, our record of success in defending DUI cases cannot be matched--by anyone. Frankly, it's why we have it: to prove it. But sometimes we outdo even ourselves. Perhaps there is no better example of this than the result Dennis Melowski just achieved for his client, TJR, in his sixth offense drunk driving case. A sixth offense is very serious business. As a felony, it carries a lengthy prison sentence; three-year loss of license; ignition interlock device for years; a several-thousand dollar fine; and significant alcohol counseling. In the vast majority of cases, regardless of county, a conviction for a sixth-offense will result in a prison sentence. In short, the stakes don't get much higher. On top of that, a sixth offense is usually easy for a prosecutor to prove, since the legal limit in such a case is only .02. For many people, one or two drinks will put them over this very low level.

So when TJR was stopped for having a headlight out and smelled of alcohol, he was terrified. His fear only grew after supposedly failing the field sobriety tests and blowing well over the legal limit on the officer's roadside breath test, a result which a subsequent blood test confirmed. The officer also found a half-full can of beer in TJR's cup holder.Things couldn't have looked more bleak for TJR. He couldn't bear the thought being sent to prison, not with elderly parents to support and care for. After searching extensively for the best possible lawyer, TJR decided to hire Dennis, due largely to results he had read about right here on our Real Results Tracker. It was the best decision TJR  ever made. Based almost entirely on Dennis' fiercely effective cross-examination of the arresting officer at TJR's preliminary hearing, the prosecutor had serious doubts about her officer's credibility. Several of the facts he testified to were highly questionable. Ten days before TJR's jury trial, an absolutely unheard of result was achieved. The felony drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, TJR pled no contest to a simple traffic ticket: Reckless Driving. This is a non-criminal, non-alcohol-related offense that doesn't even carry a loss of license, much less jail or prison time. The only penalty imposed against TJR was a fine of $389.50. That's it. TJR might just be the happiest client we've ever had.

June 15, 2012: OWI-1st Reduced to Reckless Driving

Certain counties in Wisconsin are notorious for being tough on drunk driving cases. A handful of counties even have a "no plea bargain" policy, meaning they will not, under any circumstance, agree to reduce a drunk driving charge to a lesser offense. Our client, ASW, had the misfortune of being arrested in one of these counties. Even worse, ASW was a crane operator who had to maintain a valid commercial driver's license (CDL) to keep his job. A conviction on a drunk driving charge would mean an automatic twelve-month disqualification of ASW's commercial privileges. This would not only lead to the immediate loss of his present job, it would likely scare off future employers for years to come. Something had to be done. ASW hired Dennis Melowski to not only fight his case, but to save his career.

Fortunately, Dennis understands the urgency of action in cases like ASW's. In most cases, an automatic license suspension will take effect within 30 days of arrest and, with clients like ASW, this suspension needs to be prevented at all costs. If it is not, harsh employment consequences may result before the client has even had a chance to fight the case in court. Many lawyers don't understand this or, even worse, don't care. Not here. Dennis has a remarkable track record of preventing the automatic suspension so that his clients have all the time they need to effectively contest their charges in court. This is exactly what Dennis did for ASW. Dennis was able to persuade the presiding judge to stop the DOT suspension. Due to this, ASW was able to keep his job while the case was pending in court. And thank God he did because it took Dennis just over two years to get the result ASW needed. Dennis relentlessly challenged evidence at every turn, filing multiple motions on ASW's behalf and fighting for ASW at every turn. Finally, the day before ASW's jury trial, the prosecutor decided he had had enough. The prosecutor knew how much damage Dennis had done to the arresting officer's credibility through cross-examination at prior hearings. Moreover, Dennnis had exposed a major breach in protocol with ASW's breath test. Dennis was able to prove that the arresting officer could not possibly have conducted a twenty minute observation period, a prerequisite under Wisconsin law. In short, the holes Dennis made in the prosecutor's case were too many to overcome. Despite being in a county that "never" plea bargains drunk driving cases, Dennis still obtained a fantastic resolution. ASW's drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, he pled no contest to the non-alcohol-related traffic offense of Reckless Driving, which carries no loss of license and would have no impact on ASW's commercial privileges. In addition, there is no alcohol assessment or counseling and no ignition interlock device. Most importantly, ASW is not a convicted drunk driver. And is still a crane operator.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 14, 2012: OWI-1st (with .183 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

When SRS slid off of an icy country road and into a ditch full of snow shortly after bar time, he thought the worst of his problems was having to shovel himself out in frigid temperatures. That is, until a sheriff's deputy pulled up to ask him what happened. Things quickly went from bad to worse for SRS. After smelling alcohol and making some observations the deputy thought were signs of intoxication, SRS was arrested and taken to the hospital for a blood test. The result showed a .183 alcohol level, more than twice the legal limit of .08. SRS was devastated. He knew what a drunk driving conviction would due to his career, as his job required a valid driver's license. He had to do something, but with a .183 test result, how could anything possibly be done?

Fortunately, a friend of SRS's parents is a former client of Dennis Melowski's. This former client had an even tougher set of circumstances than SRS, with an even higher test result, and Dennis was still able to obtain a remarkable result, getting the client completely out of his drunk driving charge. The client assured SRS that with Dennis Melowski on the case, there was always hope. SRS took this former client's advice and called Dennis. After carefully listening to SRS's version of events, Dennis found an issue that would have been overlooked by most attorneys. No one knows the intricate legal requirements of DUI cases better than Dennis and there was one he didn't think could be met in SRS's case. After thorough questioning of the arresting deputy at SRS's administrative suspension hearing, Dennis pinned down the defect in the County's case against SRS. At the right time, Dennis disclosed this defect to the prosecutor, someone with whom Dennis had dealt with many times. This prosecutor knew full well what Dennis would be able to do with the ammunition he had. The prosecutor's entire case was in jeopardy. A fantastic deal was reached. The drunk driving charges were completely dropped. Instead, SRS pled no contest to two minor traffic tickets that were completely non-alcohol-related: Inattentive Driving and Failure to Stop at Stop Sign. SRS paid a fine, but would not lose his license for a single day and he completely avoided the shame and embarrassment of installing an ignition interlock device in his car. Most importantly, though, SRS's job was saved because he was not a convicted drunk driver. He couldn't be happier.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 11, 2012: OWI-1st (with .21 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Reckless Driving

We know how mistakes in our youth can significantly effect our lives as adults. Knowing this, fixing those youthful mistakes so they don't completely disrupt your future is of critical importance. That's why KLW contacted our office. KLW is a young woman with a very promising future who found herself facing the life-altering prospect of being a convicted drunk driver. On the cusp of graduating college and moving on with her life, a drunk driving conviction would be catastrophic to her future plans. Fortunately, the attorneys at Melowski & Associates are completely dedicated to the notion that one mistake or bad decision shouldn't ruin a person's life. With that in mind, Attorney Sarvan Singh picked apart the prosecutor's case from top to bottom, exposing some serious flaws. After pointing these out to the prosecutor just days before the jury trial, the prosecutor saw the writing on the wall and agreed to amend the OWI to  Reckless Driving, despite KLW's very high blood test result of .21. This fantastic result ensured that KLW would not have to start her young career with the irreversible stain left by a drunk driving conviction. On top of that, she never lost her license; avoided lengthy and costly alcohol counseling; and did not have to install an ignition interlock device in her car. KLW's family could not be happier that she can put all of this behind her and start life anew.

June 4, 2012: Successful Jurisdictional Attack of Client's Prior OWI Conviction; OWI-3rd Reduced to OWI-1st

We all make mistakes when we're young. It happens to the best of us. When that mistake is a drunk driving conviction, that mistake stays with you forever. That's the backdrop for State of WI v. SAP. Back in 1993, SAP picked up two OWI's within a month of each other. SAP was very young at the time and plead guilty to both charges, not realizing the grave future consequences of this action. He thought his past was behind him. In fact, eighteen years went by without SAP having as much as a speeding ticket on his record. Then, one bad decision earlier this year led to SAP being arrested again for OWI. Despite the age of his prior cases, they would still count under Wisconsin's tough drunk driving laws. SAP was being charged with his third offense, where he was facing substantial jail and license revocation time along with a hefty fine. SAP was distraught to learn that those earlier drunken driving convictions were still on his record and being used against him 18 years later. However, Attorney Singh delved deep into those early convictions. He discovered that one of the convictions was entered erroneously and should not be counted. Attorney Singh filed a motion to dismiss one of the convictions, which the judge granted. This meant that SAP's third OWI was converted to a first offense, substantially reducing the fine, taking the license revocation time down from 3 years to 9 months, and completely eliminating the mandatory jail sentence, which would have been several months. SAP was overjoyed with gratitude at the fantastic result Attorney Singh was able to achieve. 

This case is a perfect example of the strict attention to detail the clients at Melowski & Associates continually receive in the defense of their cases. No stone goes unturned in the relentless pursuit of exceptional results. It's what separates the good lawyers from the great ones.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

May 30, 2012: Complete Dismissal of OWI-1st in Middle of Jury Trial

As almost any lawyer will attest to, the outcome of a jury trial does not always depend upon the facts of the case. Often, it hinges on the skills of the lawyers in the courtroom. Simply put, a great lawyer can quickly turn a bad case into a good one. As our record shows, the attorneys at Melowski & Associates are exceptionally skilled trial lawyers with a complete mastery of the intricate rules governing drunk driving offenses. This mastery frequently leads to substantial benefits to our clients.  A perfect example of this was County of P. v. IPM. Our client, IPM, was involved in a near fatal accident in which he was ejected from the vehicle and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. IPM was lucky to be alive. However, to add insult to injury,the County charged him with drunk driving when his blood alcohol level came back .12. Attorney Sarvan Singh took the case all the way to a jury trial. During trial, Attorney Singh noticed the County failed to call a certain witness. While the County did not believe this witness was particularly important, Attorney Singh knew better. He knew the witness was vital to the County’s case.  Biding his time, Attorney Singh waited until the right moment to make his legal objection regarding the County’s failure to call the witness. The County argued this witness was immaterial and did not need to provide testimony. However, by pointing out the specific statutory authority that required the County to call this witness, the Judge agreed with Attorney Singh and dismissed the drunk driving charges. IPM and his father were overjoyed with the news. IPM is a young man and is still worried how his injuries will affect his future. But one thing he can rest easy about is not having a life-changing drunk driving conviction on his record.