Wednesday, September 2, 2015

6 More Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions Across the State

Our reputation for obtaining exceptional results is such that we attract clients from literally every corner of Wisconsin. The following results have capped what might have been our most successful Summer ever, in cases from counties that span nearly the entire length of the state:

Case #1: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .174 blood test) Amended to Non-Alcohol-Related Charge for CDL Client

Like all of our CDL clients, RJ could not afford a drunk driving conviction. It would put him out of business. Despite having a blood test result that was more than twice the legal limit, he had to fight the case. There was simply no viable alternative. After getting his name from several different people as the only lawyer for the job, RJ hired Dennis Melowski. Although the blood test and video evidence in RJ's case were not favorable, Dennis was able to craft an argument to challenge the officer's initial reason for stopping RJ's vehicle. As it turns out, there was nothing wrong with RJ's driving prior to being pulled over. He was not speeding; he was not deviating from his lane; and all of his vehicle's equipment was working properly. The officer, however, believed that he had heard RJ unnecessarily "revving his engine" and pulled him over because of it. Knowing that officers need an "objective reason" to perform a traffic stop, Dennis filed a motion to dismiss the charges, arguing that the officer could provide only a subjective reason...his personal belief that the engine was revved unnecessarily. After a motion hearing, the judge took the issue under advisement and stated she would issue her decision at a later time. Believing the judge would ultimately agree with Dennis, the prosecutor agreed to a very favorable settlement for RJ. Under the terms of the deal, the drunk driving charges were dropped in exchange for RJ's willingness to plead no contest to a completely non-alcohol-related misdemeanor charge. This charge would have no impact on RJ's regular or CDL privileges and would not even appear on his driver record. It was about the best outcome RJ could have hoped for and his business is still thriving because of it.

Case #2: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .108 blood test) Reduced to Reckless Driving in Very Difficult County

The outcome in BP's case is a perfect example of the lengths to which our firm will go in our efforts to obtain exceptional results for our clients. BP's case went on for nearly a year and a half. Through a contested municipal court trial, to an appeal to circuit court where multiple legal issues were raised and litigated, Dennis Melowski left no stone unturned in his commitment to his client's cause. Although several of Dennis' legal challenges were denied by the judge, at each hearing Dennis was able to further undermine the arresting officer's credibility on several key points in the case. Finally, about 10 days before BP's jury trial in circuit court, the prosecutor realized that there would be enough problems with the officer's credibility that a conviction on the drunk driving charges was in grave doubt and a very favorable resolution was reached. The drunk driving charges were dropped. In exchange, BP entered a no contest plea to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving, which resulted only in a fine. BP was completely spared of an awful drunk driving conviction and never lost his license for a single day. 

The result in BP's case was remarkable for a few reasons. First, it occurred in a county that is notorious for its unwillingness to plea bargain drunk driving cases. Second, BP is an out-of-state resident employed in the healthcare field and is subject to professional licensing in his home state. Had he been convicted of the drunk driving charge, it would have been professionally devastating. In addition, BP's home state treats drunk driving convictions even more harshly than Wisconsin. A conviction here would have disrupted BP's ability to lawfully drive in his home state for an extended period of time, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for him to continue in his present position. The result that Dennis Melowski was able to obtain avoided all of that and BP is a very satisfied client.

Case #3: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .196 blood test) Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

This was an outcome that seemed impossible at the outset of KH's case given the allegations. Repeated lane deviations, poor performance on the filed sobriety tests captured by the officer's squad camera and a very high blood test result of .196 made this a very uphill battle. But there was one potential issue Dennis Melowski found in his careful review of all the evidence: the officer's squad video hardly showed a vehicle that was all over the road. At most, it showed some very minor deviations that appeared to occur entirely within KH's own lane of travel. Dennis believed that the officer's video did not show a sufficient basis for a traffic stop and he filed a motion to dismiss. At the hearing on Dennis' motion, prior to it even starting, Dennis was able to enlist the support of the officer himself in dropping the drunk driving charges. How? This officer is one whom Dennis has dealt with many times, and almost every occasion was favorable to Dennis' client. Rather than being dragged through the court process again with a similar outcome, both the officer and prosecutor agreed to just cut their losses by offering a plea agreement that KH simply couldn't refuse. Under the terms of the deal, the drunk driving charges were dropped. In exchange, KH agreed to plead no contest to two non-alcohol-related, minor traffic tickets: Inattentive Driving and Operating Left of Center. Aside from paying fines, KH suffered no consequences. She avoided the horrible stain of a drunk driving conviction; avoided the equally horrible ignition interlock device; and never lost her license for even a single day. Another very real result and another very satisfied client.

Case #4: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .153 blood test) Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

This was another outstanding outcome in a case with some difficult facts...for a client with a LOT at stake professionally. Despite a .153 blood test, TH was ultimately convicted of just two minor traffic tickets: Speeding and Inattentive Driving. Aside from paying a fine, he suffered no consequences and his job was saved. TH was so thrilled with the outcome that he posted a 5-star review of Dennis' work on the independent attorney rating website Avvo.* The review is titled "Great Results and Handled Everything!" and can be read here:

*Dennis has 69 client reviews on this website and each and every one is 5 stars. Dennis has the most 5-star client reviews of any DUI lawyer in Wisconsin.

Case #5: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .136 blood test) Amended to Non-Traffic Misdemeanor for CDL Client

This was another case with difficult facts. EB had smashed his vehicle into a guardrail when he swerved to avoid a deer, causing significant damage to  both the guardrail and his own vehicle. Having occurred in a rural area, EB left the scene and drove home, only to be found there shortly thereafter by a police officer who followed a trail of vehicle fluid directly to EB's house. After a brief investigation, EB was arrested for drunk driving. A subsequent blood test revealed an alcohol level of .136. Despite the damning evidence, EB had to fight the case to keep his lucrative job, which required a CDL and operation of company-owned vehicles. A drunk driving conviction would result in immediate termination, as his employer's policy manual made very clear. EB chose Dennis Melowski for the task of saving his career after he had been provided Dennis' name by several friends and acquaintances. After months of litigation, including some novel legal issues, Dennis was able to gain enough leverage to negotiate a very favorable settlement that resulted in the drunk driving charges being dropped in exchange for a plea to a misdemeanor charge of Negligent Handling of a Weapon, of all things. This offense would not appear on EB's driver record and would have no impact on either his regular or commercial driving privileges. Most importantly, it would allow him to keep his job. Even better, Dennis secured an agreement from the judge and prosecutor to have the charge completely expunged from EB's record upon successful completion of a probation period. This means that it will be erased from EB's record as if it never happened in the first place. Another truly outstanding result.  

Case #6: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Two Non-Alcohol-Related Traffic Offenses 

This was a must-win case for our client, JF, whose job required extensive travel, both nationally and abroad. A suspension or revocation of his driving privileges would have placed that job in great jeopardy. And a drunk driving conviction would have prevented him from consideration for further advancement at his company, which held him in very high regard. Fortunately, Dennis Melowski was able to deliver in a big way for JF. After months of negotiating, Dennis was finally able to convince the prosecutor to agree to a very favorable resolution for JF. Both the drunk driving and Refusal charges were dropped in exchange for  pleas of no contest to reduced charges of Reckless Driving and Driving Too Fast for Conditions (JF's vehicle had slid off of a snow-covered road). Aside from fines, JF suffered no consequences. He avoided a drunk driving conviction and suffered no license loss. His very promising future remains fully intact.

If you are considering another law firm to represent you, please ask them to specify the outcomes of their clients' drunk driving cases over the past 3 months. We are confident you will here nothing close to this.