Monday, December 22, 2014

December 11, 2014: Another Fantastic Outcome in an OWI-Homicide Case; Repeat Offense Client Avoids Both a Homicide Conviction AND a Prison Sentence**

As noted in other entries on the Real Results Tracker, in the realm of drunk driving defense, there is no more serious charge than an OWI-Homicide. With potential penalties of 25 years imprisonment, 5-year license revocation and a $100,000.00 fine, the stakes literally can't get any higher...unless you have a prior OWI offense on your record. This simple fact increases the potential prison sentence from 25 years up to 40 years. This grave situation is what our client, BB, found himself in. On top of that, BB was accused of fleeing the scene of the accident and was charged with Hit and Run-Homicide, a serious felony that carries a separate 25-year sentence and $100,000.00 fine. All told, BB was facing a VERY long prison sentence if convicted as charged. At only 26, and with a very promising future as a journeyman electrician, this was an outcome BB simply couldn't fathom. BB turned to his parents for help. After an exhaustive search of Wisconsin's top attorneys, BB and his family turned to Dennis Melowski to save BB's life.

When Dennis first got involved in the case, the primary goal was to keep BB out of prison. Given the initial allegations, this was going to be a very difficult task. Even for first-time offenders, a conviction for OWI-Homicide results in a prison sentence in the vast majority of cases. And in cases where a Hit and Run is also alleged, long prison sentences are a virtual certainty. Dennis was going to have to find a way to convince the prosecutor to lessen the Homicide charges if BB was to have any hope of avoiding prison. But how? The facts of the case as alleged by the police and prosecutor painted a very bleak picture. Dennis needed to find something that supported BB's version of events. After an exhaustive investigation, some favorable facts and witnesses came to light that gave Dennis the bargaining chips he was so desperately seeking. As motions were filed and hearings were held, Dennis began negotiations with the district attorney. Gradually, he began chipping away at the district attorney's perception of the case. BB was no longer being viewed as the cold, heartless villain the police originally believed they were dealing with, but as a victim of circumstances in which many people had a role in the death that occurred. After more than a year of litigation and negotiation, Dennis worked out a fantastic deal. The original charge of OWI-Homicide was reduced to First Degree Reckless Endangerment and the Hit and Run Homicide was reduced to Hit and Run (non-death related). BB completely avoided any type of homicide conviction. More importantly, he was completely spared of a prison sentence. After hearing Dennis' "meticulous" (the local newspaper's word) recitation of the results of his investigation, the judge sentenced BB to just 12 months in the county jail, all with work-release privileges that allowed BB to keep his job and his very bright future. A truly remarkable outcome in a very high-stakes case. Media accounts of the case and its outcome can be read here:

**This is the fifth client in a row facing an OWI-Homicide for whom Dennis Melowski achieved a non-prison sentence. This is an unparalleled streak in these cases. If you are facing a charge as serious as OWI-Homicide, please ask other attorneys with whom you are speaking their results in such cases. Make them be specific. You will quickly see that when we say we are Wisconsin's most successful drunk driving defense firm, it isn't a sales pitch. It's a fact.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 8, 2014: OWI-4th/PAC-4th Reduced to Non-Traffic Misdemeanor Offense

A fourth offense OWI is serious business. A typical sentence for such an offense would include a jail term of 6-12 months, 3-year license revocation, ignition interlock device (IID) installation, lengthy probation, alcohol counseling and exorbitant fines. So when our client, SK, was arrested for what would be his fourth offense, he was terrified. It had been 16 years since his last OWI and he couldn't fathom facing such a harsh outcome at this stage of his life. He now had a firmly established career, owned his own home and was about to get married. All of that was in grave danger if he were convicted as charged. Knowing he had no choice but to do something about it, SK set out to find the best lawyer possible to save the life as he knew it. Fortunately, a close friend in whom SK had confided about his situation was a former client of Dennis Melowski. His friend told SK not to bother calling anyone else and to set up a meeting with Dennis. That's exactly what SK did and it was the best decision he could have made. After slugging the case out for more than a year, Dennis had sufficiently undermined the State's case against SK to the point that he was able to negotiate a fantastic deal for SK. The original fourth offense drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, SK plead no contest to the non-traffic, non-alcohol-related misdemeanor offense of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. This offense carries no license loss whatsoever and will not even appear on SK's driver record, meaning no insurance ramifications. SK was also able to completely avoid probation and was spared of the awful ignition interlock requirement. SK was sentenced to just 50 days in jail, all with work release and electronic monitoring. Another extremely happy client.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 3, 2014: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .208 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Reckless Driving for CDL Client

This was truly a remarkable result given the allegations against our client, KH. Allegedly seen stumbling towards his car by a police officer after leaving a tavern, KH was warned by the officer not to get into his vehicle and drive. After initially heeding the officer's advice, KH thought enough time had elapsed that he would be okay to drive the short distance to his house. Unfortunately, the officer KH had encountered earlier was just waiting for him to drive away. A traffic stop occurred almost immediately. KH was arrested after allegedly performing very poorly on the field sobriety tests. Things only got worse from there, as the post-arrest blood test revealed an alcohol level of .208, more than two and a half times the legal limit. Knowing the deck was stacked heavily against him, KH had no choice but to fight the case. As a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder, a drunk driving conviction would professionally devastate him for years. Not knowing where to turn, KH sought advice from a local attorney who had done some work for KH in the past. Given what KH had at stake, the attorney told him that his only hope was Dennis Melowski.

When Dennis first delved into KH's case, the evidence against him seemed overwhelming. But there was a glimmer of hope. Based on what KH insisted the officer told him prior to the blood draw, Dennis believed there may be grounds to have the blood test result thrown out. Dennis knew the officer's video potentially held the key to this issue, so he requested a copy immediately. Suspiciously, however, the squad video was "inadvertently deleted" shortly after Dennis' request. Rather than chalk this up to bad luck, Dennis leveraged the failure to properly preserve the evidence into a fantastic result for KH. Under the terms of the deal, the original drunk driving charges were dropped in exchange for a plea to Reckless Driving, a non-alcohol-related offense that carries no loss of license and would have no impact on KH's CDL privileges. Aside from paying a fine that was less than half of the fine for drunk driving, KH suffered no consequences. An outstanding result in a very difficult case.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

November 17, 2014: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .186 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Reckless Driving

This outstanding result almost didn't happen. Although Dennis Melowski had reached a deal with the prosecutor that would completely avoid a drunk driving conviction for his client, KL, the judge responsible for the case bristled at the idea of approving such a drastic reduction in charges in a case with such a high blood test result and an independent citizen witness who initially reported KL to the police. But persistence paid off and Dennis was ultimately able to convince the judge to see the many holes he was able to poke in the prosecutor's case against his client. After a contentious hearing, the judge finally gave her blessing. KL completely avoided a drunk driving conviction in a case with some very difficult facts. Her career at a very prominent American corporation, which required her to maintain valid driving privileges, was preserved. Needless to say, she couldn't be happier.