Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 18, 2015: OWI-1st (Prescription Drugs) Reduced to Reckless Driving

Many of our clients have much more at stake than just the court-imposed penalties for an impaired driving conviction. Often, the far greater consequence is on their professional reputation. There may not be a better example of this than our physician clients. Not only do doctors face potential sanction by the state medical board if convicted of such an offense, they also face the loss of hospital privileges. Even worse, the stigma associated with such an offense can shake the faith of patients and scare off future employers. Simply put, an impaired driving conviction has career-ending potential for doctors.

This is the situation our client, MR, found himself in when charged with his first-ever impaired driving offense. Although highly-regarded, and with more than two decades of impeccable care under his belt, MR found himself facing a professional setback that he couldn't imagine. Initially, MR's chances of avoiding a conviction on the original charges seemed quite slim, given the initial allegations. Witnesses had observed MR's car swerving all over the road, striking a yield sign, and ultimately rear-ending another driver. On top of that, MR performed very poorly on the field sobriety tests...on camera. A subsequent blood test revealed the presence of several impairment-inducing prescription medications. Despite the very damning evidence, however, MR had a viable defense. As it turns out, MR's nighttime medications were mistakenly placed in the morning compartments of the pill tray laid out by his wife. He had inadvertently taken them in the morning before driving to work, believing he had correctly taken his morning pills. In short, MR had a defense of involuntary intoxication. But getting the prosecutor to believe MR's claims turned out to be no easy task. In fact, it took Dennis Melowski more than a year. Finally, however, Dennis won the prosecutor over as the case was gearing up for trial. And it was an outcome that was definitely worth the wait for MR. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the impaired driving charges were dropped, in exchange for MR's plea to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving. Aside from paying fines, MR suffered no license loss and completely avoided any type of drug or alcohol related impaired driving conviction. Most importantly, he is facing no professional repercussions and his outstanding reputation is still fully intact. Needless to say, he is thrilled with the outcome.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Four More Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions in the Last 30 Days

Case #1: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .118 Blood Test Result) Reduced to 2 Minor Traffic Tickets for CDL Client

Our client, TK, absolutely had to get out of his first-ever drunk driving charge. A conviction would have resulted in the immediate loss of a well-paying over-the-road truck driving job, with little chance of being hired again in the future. In the commercial driving field, a DUI conviction can haunt a driver for years, long after the period of license revocation has been served. TK was referred to Dennis Melowski by a very loyal referral source, the owner of a trucking company for whom Dennis has helped countless drivers over the years. Fortunately, TK can add his name to that long list. Based on some significant legal issues Dennis was able to leverage in negotiations with the prosecutor, the original drunk driving charges against TK were dropped. Instead, TK pled no contest to 2 completely non-alcohol-related, minor traffic tickets: Inattentive Driving and Failure to Display Front License Plate. TK never lost his license for a single day and his commercial privileges are all full intact. Another commercial driving career saved.

Case #2: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Reckless Driving

SR has a great job out-of-state that requires her to have fully valid driving privileges at all times. Like many of our clients, SR's job was on the line if she were found guilty of the charges she was facing when she came to us. On top of that, SR's home state would impose very drastic penalties if she were convicted of DUI or Refusal in Wisconsin, making it very difficult for her to find similar work. Not knowing where to turn for help, SR sought advice from her personal attorney, who referred her to Dennis Melowski. As of two weeks ago, SR has nothing more to worry about. As it turns out, Dennis' review of the squad video revealed several deficiencies in the officer's administration of the roadside sobriety tests to SR, along with some significant contradictions between what was on the video and what was described in the officer's report. In short, the officer's credibility was very much in question. Dennis brought what he found to the attention of the prosecutor and was able to negotiate a very favorable settlement for SR, despite some VERY difficult facts in the case, including a call-in by another driver. Under the terms of the deal, the drunk driving and Refusal charges were dropped, in exchange for SR's no contest plea to Reckless Driving. Aside from paying a $313.00 fine, SR suffered no consequences from her arrest. Not only did she avoid any loss of her license, she avoided a drunk driving conviction altogether. 

Case #3: Another CDL Client's Career Saved: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .16 Breath Test Result) Reduced to 2 Minor Traffic Tickets

AB was actually referred to Dennis Melowski by one of Dennis' competitors in the Milwaukee area, a somewhat regular occurrence at our firm. Although having an excellent reputation of his own, this attorney though AB would be in better hands with Dennis, given the stakes involved and some difficult facts to overcome in AB's case. No doubt, AB had a tremendous amount on the line. He is the sole proprietor of his own trucking company in a state out West. If convicted of drunk driving, AB's CDL privileges would be completely disqualified, causing him to go out-of-business. With a wife and children to support, this was an unimaginable outcome for AB. But thanks to a significant breach of protocol in the administration of AB's breath test was revealed at AB's DOT suspension hearing, Dennis was able to create just a big enough hole in the case to negotiate a fantastic settlement. The drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, AB entered no contest pleas to 2 minor traffic tickets: Inattentive Driving and Deviation from Lane. Bot of these minor offenses are completely non-alcohol-related and would have no impact on AB's regular or commercial driving privileges. His trucking business was completely saved and AB is a VERY happy man.

Case #4: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .098 Blood Test Result) Reduced to 2 Minor Traffic Tickets

3 years ago, Dennis Melowski was able to help JK's twin brother avoid a drunk driving conviction, an outcome that saved his commercial driving career. So when JK picked up a first offense of her own, Dennis was the first person she called. And Dennis delivered again, in a county in Southeastern Wisconsin that is notoriously difficult to deal with in drunk driving cases. After laying the groundwork for some very favorable legal issues at JK's DOT suspension hearing, Dennis was able to ultimately convince the prosecutor to drop the drunk driving charges in exchange for reduced charges of Inattentive Driving and Lane Deviation. These two completely non-alcohol-related, minor traffic offenses did not impact JK's driving privileges in any way and she was able to completely avoid the stigma of a drunk driving conviction. Another very satisfied client.