Friday, May 24, 2013

May 6, 2013: Complete Dismissal of OWI-1st Offense (with .13 Breath Test Result)

As someone who was about to earn his MBA from a prestigious business school, the last thing JAN needed was a drunk driving conviction on his record. Such a "black mark" would almost certainly scare away the top employers who were courting him. JAN had no choice. He had to fight his case, even though his breath test showed an alcohol level of .13. After being given Dennis Melowski's name by a family member who is also an attorney, JAN scheduled a consultation with Dennis. Only a few minutes into the consultation, JAN knew he had found the man for the job. Knowing the stakes involved for JAN, Dennis got to work right away, laying the groundwork for several legal challenges at JAN's administrative suspension hearing through careful questioning of the arresting officer. For more than the next year, Dennis relentlessly pursued these challenges in court, withstanding countless delays due to the lack of preparation on the part of the prosecutor. Dennis' efforts finally paid off when he showed up to court yet again to fight on JAN's behalf and the prosecutor was still not prepared to proceed with the case. By this time, the judge had finally had enough of the delays and would not put the case off any longer. All charges against JAN were dismissed on the spot. JAN's nightmare was finally over and his future has never looked brighter. Persistence pays off indeed.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

April 26, 2013: Jury Finds Client Not Guilty of All Counts in OWI-First (With Minor Child in Vehicle) Case, Despite Two Separate Tests Over the Legal Limit

Most attorneys would have looked at LJL's case and told her she had no chance. In fact, most of them did. After all, LJL had been stopped by the police for multiple traffic infractions: speeding, defective headlight and unsafe lane deviation. She also admitted to drinking; supposedly failed all of the field sobriety tests; and had a roadside breath test over the legal limit. To make things even worse, LJL had her 10-year-old daughter in the vehicle when she was pulled over, making this a serious criminal charge, despite it being her first-ever DUI arrest. To top it all off, the police insisted on giving LJL both a blood AND a breath test following her arrest, due to the seriousness of the charge. Both results were over the legal limit. The blood test (done first) revealed an alcohol level of .125 and the Intoximeter breath test (done second) revealed a level of .089. Initially, the evidence against LJL seemed overwhelming and no one was giving her any hope. Fortunately, the last attorney with whom LJL consulted suggested that she give Dennis Melowski a call, telling her that Dennis was her only hope.

When Dennis took over LJL's case, even he thought he had his work cut out for him, especially given the fact that LJL's arrest occurred in Milwaukee County, which is notorious for its "no plea bargain" policy in drunk driving cases. Their rule is simple: you either plead guilty as charged, or take your case to trial. No exceptions. So from day one, Dennis knew the case would be presented to a jury, and he prepared it accordingly. With painstaking effort, Dennis looked at the hurdles he would need to get over at trial (and there were many) to find a way to overcome them. The more closely Dennis looked at the case, the more he noticed a pattern. For every "bad fact" the prosecutor had against LJL, there was a credible explanation pointing towards her innocence. Much of it had to do with LJL's long history of serious health problems, which became a central focus of the case. From her performance on the field sobriety tests, to the unique way in which her body processed the alcohol from the one drink she consumed the night of her arrest, LJL's medical issues provided the answer to almost every problem in her case. But would the jury believe it?

One thing's for sure. The DA's office didn't believe it. In fact, they assigned their top DUI specialist, someone with even more experience than Dennis, to prosecute the case. And this prosecutor was hell-bent on getting a conviction---and beating Dennis Melowski. And he pulled out all the stops to do it. From aggressively challenging every move Dennis made, to calling no less than 3 expert witnesses to counter the claims of Dennis' expert, the prosecutor engaged in a desperate campaign to win, seemingly at all costs. But in a trial that lasted a full 5 days (yes, 5), the prosecutor's desperation became his undoing. Despite his aggressive efforts, he couldn't put a dent in LJL's testimony. She told the truth in a convincing manner, even when she was called a liar to her face. The expert physiologist who testified on LJL's behalf also emerged unscathed, calmly and effectively refuting every crazy question posed to her during a cross-examination that lasted more than 3 hours. In the end, the truth and superior lawyering won the day. At the conclusion of a week-long trial, and nearly 2 full years after her arrest, the jury found LJL NOT GUILTY of all charges. LJL was overcome with emotion and joy when the verdict was read. After 2 years of trying to get her good name back, LJL walked out of the Milwaukee County Courthouse completely exonerated. As we have repeatedly said, never underestimate the difference a top-notch attorney can make, even when a situation seems hopeless.