Thursday, August 9, 2012

July 31, 2012: OWI-1st with Minor Child in Vehicle Reduced to Non-Traffic Misdemeanor

Our client, BAO, had just started a very promising career as an apprentice lineman for a utilities company. It was a well-paying job with excellent benefits. Unfortunately, this job required a valid commercial driver's license, or CDL.  A conviction on a drunk driving charge results in immediate disqualification of CDL privileges, even if the incident occurs in your personal vehicle. So when BAO rolled his truck several times after sliding off an icy road at bar time, he was terrified. He couldn't bear the thought of losing the great job he had just begun. When the police arrived at the accident scene, BAO's fears became a reality. He was arrested for drunk driving. What's worse, although this was BAO's first offense, it would be prosecuted as a criminal charge due to the fact that the teenage sister of BAO's friend was inside the truck when it crashed. The presence of a minor under the age of 17 in a vehicle makes a first offense criminal, substantially increasing the seriousness of the charge and exposing BAO to a mandatory jail sentence if convicted. The charge became even more serious when BAO's blood test revealed an alcohol level of .13.

It was clear that BAO was in for a fight given the nature of the charges. Initially, BAO was represented by another attorney who spent several months getting nowhere with the case. BAO knew he needed a change. He knew he needed an attorney who would not be afraid of the prosecutor and judge, as BAO's arrest occurred in a county that is notorious for being very aggressive in pursuing DUI convictions. After speaking with several attorneys already, BAO called Dennis Melowski. After meeting with Dennis and hearing how he would approach the case, BAO knew he had found his man. Although it wasn't easy, Dennis obtained an incredible result for BAO. The very afternoon before BAO's scheduled jury trial Dennis negotiated an agreement with the prosecutor that would avoid a drunk driving conviction and would completely spare BAO's regular and commercial driving privileges. Dennis was able to convince the prosecutor to drop the original charges in exchange for BAO's plea to an amended charge of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, a non-alcohol-related misdemeanor offense that will not even appear on BAO's driver record. BAO did not lose his license for even a single day and his job was saved. Often times, choosing the right attorney can make all the difference. Just ask BAO.