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.