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.