Friday, January 17, 2014

Starting Off the New Year with a Bang: 2 Weeks, 2 Sets of Drunk Driving Charges Dropped

Case #1: Complete Dismissal of OWI-2nd/PAC-2nd (with .192 Blood Test Result)

One of the first areas of our clients' cases we always assess is whether the arresting officer had a valid basis to pull them over in the first place. If a police officer has insufficient grounds to conduct a traffic stop, it can be grounds for having the entire case thrown out. In this case, our client, CAM, was pulled over because he "appeared to be exceeding the speed limit," according to the officer. The officer based this claim on a visual estimate of the client's speed and the fact that it sounded like he was speeding based on the excessive noise coming from his engine. But the officer had no objective proof of the client's speed. There was no radar or laser reading and the officer did not "pace" the client's vehicle. In short, the stop was based on mere guesswork and speculation, not actual proof. Dennis Melowski recognized this deficiency immediately and filed a motion to have all of the evidence against CAM thrown out, including his .192 blood test result. A lengthy hearing was held, during the course of which the arresting officer repeatedly embarrassed herself with admissions of shoddy police work. After the hearing, the judge ordered further briefing to allow the prosecutor a final opportunity to try to save his case. But once the briefs were submitted, the writing was already on the wall. The judge ruled in Dennis' favor and threw out all of the evidence in CAM's case. The prosecutor had no choice but to dismiss all of the charges. It was a complete victory for CAM.*

*This was the second time that Dennis was able to obtain a victory for this particular client. Another drunk driving charge was reduced to a non-alcohol-related offense in 2010, an offense that didn't even appear on his driver record.

Case #2: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .11 Breath Test Result) Reduced to Minor Traffic Offense

Like many of our clients, JRB was referred to us by a former client whose drunk driving case we won. In this particular case, JRB was the sister of a former CDL client of Dennis Melowski.  And Dennis delivered again in a big way for JRB. As it turns out, JRB worked for a company in Chicago which required her to have fully valid driving privilegesas a condition of employment. She simply couldn't afford a DUI conviction under any circumstance. Her job was literally on the line. Despite having to contend with some very difficult facts, Dennis was able to ultimately convince the prosecutor* to reduce the drunk driving charge to the non-alcohol-related, minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. Better yet, to avoid point problems for JRB, Dennis was even able to get the prosecutor to reopen and reduce a speeding ticket JRB had gotten earlier in the year. As a result of Dennis' efforts,  JRB never lost her license for a single day and avoided the life-altering stigma of a drunk driving conviction that would have certainly derailed her career.

*This particular prosecutor is someone with whom Dennis has had many cases over the years. Early on in Dennis' career, this prosecutor took a hard line approach with several of Dennis' cases and they ended up going to trial. After Dennis' third victory in a row, the prosecutor softened up. A lot. People often ask how our firm is able to obtain the truly exceptional results we obtain for so many clients. This is how.