Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Another Outstanding Result in an OWI-Homicide Case; Client Pleads to Reduced Charge and Receives County Jail Time with Work Release

GC's case marked the fifth straight time Dennis Melowski successfully obtained a non-prison sentence for a client in a case that started out as an OWI-Homicide. In cases where lengthy prison sentences are a virtual given, even for first-time offenders, this is a remarkable success rate. Although GC's case had some very difficult facts (he ran a stop sign; broadsided another vehicle, killing the other driver instantly; and had both a .108 blood test result and marijuana in his system), Dennis focused on GC's otherwise impeccable character in crafting a sentencing proposal for 12 months in the county jail with work release privileges. Dennis hired an expert sentencing consultant (someone with vast experience in the Wisconsin probation and prison systems) to meticulously lay out all of the reasons why a prison term was unjustified in GC's case. In addition, Dennis was able to obtain just enough leverage in the case to negotiate a lesser charge in the weeks leading up to GC's jury trial. The prosecutor dropped the OWI-Homicide charge in exchange for GC's no contest plea to a reduced charge of Homicide by Negligent Operation of a  Vehicle**. At GC's sentencing hearing, Dennis was able to convince the judge to adopt his sentencing proposal in its entirety. The judge sentenced GC to just 12 months in the county jail (all with work release privileges), despite the District Attorney vigorously arguing for 5 years in the Wisconsin State Prison System. Given what was at stake, GC and his wife of 30 years wept with joy at this outstanding outcome.

**Having the charge reduced also lowered GC's mandatory license revocation from 5 years to just 1 year  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June is Off to a Great Start: 3 Outstanding Outcomes for Attorney Murray's Clients

OWI-3rd Completely Dismissed

NK had driven off the road, crashed his vehicle into a ditch and suffered very serious injuries.  He was airlifted to the hospital where blood was drawn several hours later, returning a borderline result.  The prosecution decided they were still going to prosecute, believing they could use a process called retrograde extrapolation to prove that NK's blood was even higher at the time of driving.  However, retrograde extrapolation has many inherent flaws, which our firm is well versed in.  Upon realizing the difficulties he was facing, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the OWI-3rd completely if NK pled to the two other minor traffic tickets that were issued: Failure to Maintain Control of Vehicle and Operating Left of Center.  While NK is still healing from his injuries, he can now rest easier knowing he will not be facing a lengthy jail sentence, years of license revocation, and all of the other very serious consequences of an OWI-3rd.

Boating While Intoxicated Amended to Minor Boating Violations for Commercial Pilot Client

SL, a commercial pilot, was arrested for Boating While Intoxicated when the DNR stopped his boat for a lighting violation.  After the breath test returned a result of .12, SL was issued another charge of Operating a Boat with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration.  As you can imagine, any alcohol related offense to a commercial pilot could mean the end of his career. With so much at stake,  SL hired Melowski & Associates and Attorney Matt Murray went to work raising various legal issues on SL's behalf, including a novel legal challenge to the implied consent procedure used in Boating While Intoxicated cases.  This challenge was particularly helpful as it had the potential to change the process for all Boating While Intoxicated cases in Wisconsin.  As the motion hearing approached, Attorney Murray successfully negotiated a resolution wherein SL pled to two minor boating citations: Failure to Yield - Boating Violation and Lighting Equipment Violation.  SL could not be happier.

OWI-3rd and Criminal Paraphernalia Charge Amended to Reckless Driving and Inattentive Driving Tickets

This case involved the use of synthetic marijuana, or "spice" as it is sometimes referred to.  SK was arrested after someone called in his vehicle for weaving all over the road.  When the officers found SK's vehicle, it was parked in a turning lane and it was alleged that SK started driving away once he saw the officers.  After failing the field sobriety tests, SK was arrested and officers found a pipe used to smoke the drug in SK's vehicle.  However, one problem that law enforcement have with synthetic marijuana is that the chemical structure is constantly changing.  That is, once the legislature makes one chemical structure illegal, a new version of spice is created with a different chemical structure.  This is the reason SK was charged with OWI and not Operating with a Detectable Amount of a Restricted Controlled Substance.  This created a problem for the prosecution with regards to the Drug Paraphernalia charge also.

The problem for the prosecution with the OWI charge was that the lab where SK's blood was sent could only say whether or not SK's blood was positive for spice and not what level of the substance was in SK's blood.  However, the prosecution persisted because of the bad driving and the performance on the field sobriety tests.  Motions were filed and the case was headed to trial.  Two weeks before trial, the prosecution came around.  They agreed to amend the OWI-3rd to a charge of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, but agreed to dismiss this charge if SK committed no new crimes for a period of two years and completed some drug counseling.  The Drug Paraphernalia charge was amended to a ticket for Inattentive Driving and SK also agreed to plead to a ticket for Reckless Driving.  Thus, SK has the opportunity to walk away from this with no jail, no license revocation, no criminal conviction and only two traffic tickets.  Another very happy client.