Monday, June 24, 2013

June 4, 2013: OWI-1st (with .21 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Inattentive Driving

Far too often, people underestimate the devastating long-term consequences a first offense drunk driving conviction can have on almost every aspect of their life. The police like to tell people that a first DUI is nothing more than an "expensive speeding ticket" and not to worry about it. Why do they tell people this? Easy, they want to keep you compliant on the night of your arrest by lulling you into a false belief that "it's no big deal." They don't want you worried and upset. It makes their job harder. They also don't want to have someone scrutinize their work, which is often rife with embellishment and shoddy investigation. Sadly, many people fall for what the police tell them. They think they can pay the fine, serve their license revocation, chalk the whole thing up to a big mistake and move on with their lives as if nothing happened. Only years later do they fully realize how wrong they were. From lost employment or promotion opportunities to public humiliation through internet exposure (your mugshot can be easily found online, as well as your entire court record) to exorbitant insurance rates for years to come to lost business or loan opportunities, a DUI conviction can haunt you for years. In short, most people inevitably realize that not fighting their case may have been one of the biggest mistakes they ever made. Unfortunately, at that point, it's too late to do anything about it.

For many of our clients, however, they know immediately the impact that a first DUI conviction will have because it will cost them their job, if not their entire career. This was certainly the case for our client, JAH. As a delivery driver for a major international package courier, a drunk driving conviction would be a death sentence to his professional future. So when JAH picked up his first-ever drunk driving charge, he knew he had to do something about it. JAH had heard countless horror stories over the years of drivers never getting hired again because of the stigma attached to a drunk driving conviction. He was determined to make sure that would not happen to him. He had worked too hard and too long for his professional life to be over because of one mistake. Fortunately, Dennis Melowski's reputation as a career-saver in the commercial driving field is well-known and JAH was quickly referred to Dennis by several other drivers. And it didn't take long for Dennis to find some significant deficiencies in the police investigation of JAH's case. Dennis was able to craft several legal challenges to the evidence in the case. After reviewing Dennis' challenges, even the veteran prosecutor handling the case knew that a conviction was in jeopardy and Dennis was able to negotiate an incredible deal. Despite JAH's .21 blood test result, the drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, JAH plead no contest to Inattentive Driving, a non-alcohol-related minor traffic offense that would result in no license loss. More importantly, the reduced charge would have no impact whatsoever on JAH's commercial driving privileges. JAH's career was saved. Now JAH hears countless stories about himself...and how smart he was to fight his case.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 3, 2013: OWI-3rd Reduced to OWI-1st Based Upon Successful Attack of Prior Conviction

As the sole proprietor of his own excavating company, DK relied heavily on his commercial driving privileges to make a living. He needed a commercial driver's license (CDL) to operate all of the heavy equipment essential to his business. But when DK picked up a third offense drunk driving charge, he was facing lifetime disqualification of his commercial driving privileges. A conviction would put him out of business... for good. If that weren't enough, he was also facing a substantial jail sentence; a fine of several thousand dollars; mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) installation in any vehicle he owned or operated for 2 to 3 years; and  revocation of his regular driving privileges for 2 to 3 years. The stakes couldn't get much higher for DK and he needed Wisconsin's very best drunk driving defense attorney to help. After much research, and after hearing Dennis Melowski's name mentioned by several other lawyers as the best in the state, DK made his decision to hire Dennis. And Dennis delivered in a big way. By finding a flaw in DK's second offense from several years earlier, Dennis was able to file a motion with the judge to throw out the prior conviction. Shortly before the hearing on this motion was scheduled to start, Dennis was able to convince the prosecutor to agree that DK's second conviction shouldn't count. Because DK's first offense then became too old to count under Wisconsin law, DK's third offense suddenly became a first. With this fantastic result, DK avoided the lifetime disqualification of his commercial driving privileges; avoided a several month jail sentence; avoided the IID installation; his license revocation went from 28 months to just 7 months; and his fine went from $2,000.00 all the way down to $700.00. Needless to say, DK couldn't have been happier.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

May 20, 2013: OWI-4th (with .107 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Non-Traffic Misdemeanor with No Jail and No License Revocation

When KJO picked up his fourth offense drunk driving charge, he knew how serious it was. A fourth offense carries some very stiff penalties. In the county where he was arrested, KJO was facing a 6 month jail sentence; license revocation of at least 2 years; a fine that would likely be thousands of dollars; ignition interlock device installation for several years; and lengthy and costly alcohol counseling. These were penalties KJO simply couldn't bear, as he was still getting himself back on his feet from his third offense. Fighting the case was his only viable option and he selected Dennis Melowski for this all-important task. It turned out to be one of the best decisions in KJO's life. After exposing a major weakness in the State's case at a motion hearing before the judge, Dennis laid the groundwork for a fantastic resolution. At the conclusion of the hearing, even the judge expressed skepticism that the prosecutor would be able to prove her case. Walking out of the courtroom that day, Dennis proposed a settlement of KJO's case to the prosecutor that would completely avoid a drunk driving conviction for KJO. Knowing the damage that Dennis had already done to her case at the hearing, the prosecutor reluctantly agreed. Under the terms of the settlement, the original charge of OWI-4th was reduced to the non-alcohol-related misdemeanor offense of Negliegent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, an offense that will not even appear on KJO's driver record and carries no license loss. The only penalty KJO suffered was an $800 fine. No jail. No probation. No IID device. No counseling. And nothing on KJO's driver record.  Another Real Result from Wisconsin's premier drunk driving defense firm and another very satisfied client.