Tuesday, November 27, 2012
November 6, 2012: Jury Finds Client Not Guilty in OWI-2nd Case with .16 Breath Test Result
When SGS left a local gentleman's club after an evening out with a co-worker, he knew he had probably had one too many. Not wanting to make the same mistake that he had made several years earlier when he got arrested for his first DUI, he decided it would be unsafe to try to drive to the nearby hotel where he was staying for work. So he got into his truck, started the engine, reclined his seat and slept. In short, he thought he was making a smart decision. About 30 minutes later, however, while SGS was sound asleep, a police officer on foot patrol started to bang loudly on SGS's window, yelling at him and demanding that he shut off the engine and roll down his window, which is exactly what SGS did. He had no problem talking to the officer because he didn't think he was doing anything wrong. Fifteen minutes later, however, SGS was sitting in the back of a squad car, under arrest for OWI. And the cops didn't care one bit that SGS wasn't driving. You see, under Wisconsin's tough drunk driving laws, the mere act of starting your vehicle, even if it remains in park, constitutes "vehicle operation." And once SGS blew a .16 on the breath test at the police station, under the law, he was "driving drunk." So SGS's case was treated the same as if he had been carelessly careening down the highway. And the prosecutor assigned to the case was not interested in giving SGS any breaks either. Even when he was told that SGS was facing lifetime disqualification of his commercial driving privileges if convicted of his second offense, the prosecutor coldly responded that the DA's office had a strict "no plea bargain" policy in drunk driving cases. No exceptions. If SGS wanted to beat the charge and save his lucrative career as an electrical power lineman, he would have to take his case to a jury. And Dennis Melowski did exactly that. After a very hard-fought trial, with a very hometown judge looking to shut Dennis down at every turn, the jury saw through this sham of a case and found SGS Not Guilty of all charges. He walked out of the courthouse completely exonerated, with his dignity, and career, fully intact. He couldn't be happier.