Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Back-to-Back Jury Wins for Dennis Melowski

June 15, 2017: Client found Not Guilty of OWI-2nd/PAC-2nd (with .232 blood                                         test result)


JS's job was literally on the line in this case. Had the jury found him guilty, he would have been fired the very next day from his lucrative job with an energy company, a job that required him to have a valid CDL at all times. Despite being stopped for crossing the centerline, failing the field sobriety tests on camera and having a blood test result nearly three times the legal limit, Dennis Melowski was able to dismantle the State's case against his client through devastating cross-examinations of both the arresting officer and the blood analyst from the State Lab. Dennis was able to expose several exaggerations and inconsistencies in the officer's recounting of events, but the real damage was done to the blood evidence. Dennis was able to get the State's expert to admit to numerous failures of the machine used to test JS's blood sample, in addition to exposing a major failure in protocol the very morning JS's sample was tested. By the time Dennis was done, the jury had no confidence whatsoever in the State's blood evidence and they found JS NotGuilty of both the OWI and PAC charges. He walked out of the courthouse completely exonerated. He's also probably one of the happiest clients we've ever had.

June 20, 2017: Waukesha County Jury Finds Client Not Guilty of OWI-3rd,                                     PAC-3rd, and Operating with a Restricted Controlled Substance                                   (with .099 blood test and THC) ***


Waukesha County juries are known for being conservative, so Dennis Melowski's plan of essentially calling three police officers liars as the cornerstone of his defense in CR's case was definitely a risky one. But given most of the overwhelmingly bad evidence in the case, Dennis had little choice. CR's performance on the filed sobriety tests was quite poor...and captured on video. Even more damning was the fact that CR's blood had both an alcohol level above the legal limit and the presence of THC (marijuana). Add to that the fact that CR was very uncooperative after his arrest, and was even accused of urinating in the back of the squad car en route to the hospital. However, this was a case where CR was found passed out behind the wheel and the State's ability to prove its case hinged on whether or not they could prove the vehicle was running at the time the officers arrived on scene. You see, in Wisconsin, the vehicle does not have to be in motion for a person to be charged with an OWI-related offense. All the State has to prove is that the vehicle was running and that is enough to constitute vehicle "operation" under Wisconsin's tough drunk driving laws. 

All three cops who were on scene that night took the witness stand and swore under oath that CR's vehicle was running when they found him. In fact, they were quite adamant. But CR insisted that the keys were in his pocket the whole time. Dennis had no doubt his client was telling the truth, but could he possibly convince twelve citizens of Waukesha County that the cops were lying? As each cop testified, Dennis systematically destroyed them. Outright lies were exposed in two of the officers' reports, lies that the other officers repeated in their own testimony, unaware that Dennis had already gotten the officers to admit the "mistakes" (their word, not Dennis') they had made. This is why it's so important for witnesses to be "sequestered" during a trial, so they can't watch another witness testify and conform their own testimony as needed. So each cop took the stand, not knowing what the cop who testified before them was forced to admit under Dennis' withering cross-examination. When the next cop took the stand, he would stick to a story that had already been conclusively debunked. Even more problems with the officers' "version" were exposed as Dennis used their own video evidence against them. Dennis managed to make eye contact with several jurors who were literally shaking their heads in disbelief at the cops' manufactured testimony. Dennis had such complete faith that the cops' credibility had been completely destroyed that he decided not to call any witnesses himself, not even his own client. Just thirty minutes into their deliberation, the jury reached a unanimous verdict that CR was NOT GUILTY of all charges. CR's family, who were all in attendance, wept for joy as the verdicts were read. And CR? He was completely vindicated.

***Dennis actually took this case over from another law firm whose attorney told CR he should just plead guilty because nothing could be done. Oy.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

4 of Attorney Murray's Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions

Case # 1: OWI/PAC - 1st (with .138 blood test) Reduced To Reckless Driving


RS was coming home from a wedding in an unfamiliar area. He was radared  traveling 40 MPH in a 25 MPH zone, pulled over and put through field sobriety tests after the officer alleged glossy eyes, the odor of intoxicants and that RS nearly dropped his insurance paperwork out of the window when providing it to the officer.

The officer alleged that he observed all the clues on the HGN test, 3 of 8 clues on the Walk and Turn test, and 2 of 8 clues on the One Leg Stand test. RS also was unable to recite the alphabet as instructed by the officer. A preliminary breath test returned a result of 0.123. A blood test returned a result of 0.138.

Attorney Murray filed a motion asserting that the officer failed to provide the proper administrative suspension paperwork based upon the officer putting "no" in the paperwork that asks if a certain form was provided. The prosecutor responded that such paperwork is automatically populated by a computer and that the officer was prepared to testify that he indeed did provide the paperwork to RS. However, anticipating this at the beginning of the case, Attorney Murray specifically asked this question at the administrative suspension hearing and the officer indicated he did complete this particular section of the form manually.

Ultimately, the day before the motion hearing and jury trial, the prosecutor agreed to amend the charge. RS could not be happier as a drunk driving conviction would have made it difficult or impossible for him to visit his in-laws in another country. RS can now rest assured that he can leave the country with his wife to see family. He was so happy that he posted the 5-star review of Matt's work titled "Won my case" on the independent lawyer rating website Avvo: https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/53081-wi-matthew-murray-1798857.htm#client_reviews.

Case # 2: OWI/PAC - 1st (with .18 Breath Test) Reduced Reckless Driving


DG was pulled over at 11:28 PM for traveling 41 MPH in a 35 MPH zone and for traveling over the fog line. She handed the officer her credit card when asked for her driver's license and the officer noticed the odor of intoxicants, red/glassy eyes, and slurred speech. DG denied drinking but was nevertheless asked to perform field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed. A preliminary breath test returned a result of 0.19 and the evidentiary breath test at the police station return a result of 0.18. This occurred in 2014.

Occasionally, cases are lost or forgotten about by the prosecutor and that is what happened here. Attorney Murray laid low knowing full well that the longer the case remains pending, the stronger the case for a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute. Years later, the court discovered what was happening and scheduled a hearing. Attorney Murray was then able to work out an amendment to a Reckless Driving ticket.

Case # 3: OWI/PAC - 1st (with .211 Blood Test) Reduced to Reckless Driving


Officers were dispatched to a report of a red four-door car parked on railroad tracks. Upon arrival, there was no vehicle on the railroad tracks, but there was a red four-door car parked in a nearby parking lot. The officer pulled into the parking lot and the vehicle began to drive away. The officer then conducted a traffic stop, which ultimately led to LW being arrested for Operating While Intoxicated - 1st Offense. Attorney Murray was able to convince the prosecutor that the basis for the stop was insufficient and the parties agreed to resolve the case with a Reckless Driving ticket.

Case # 4: OWI/PAC - 1st (with .135 Blood Test) Amended to Non-Traffic Offense for CDL Client


FG had a difficult case. He was called in by a store owner stating that FG was driving on his lawn and doing doughnuts in the middle of the road. Police were dispatched and found FD stopped at a traffic light. FG had his foot on and off the brake at the light tot he point where his vehicle was visibly jerking. FG then cut the officer off going from the far right lane to the left turning lane. To make matters worse, FG had a bottle of liquor in the car and failed the field sobriety tests according to the officer. A blood draw was performed and the test returned a result of 0.135. Unfortunately, FG was also a commercial driver and a conviction on either the OWI or PAC charge meant that FG would lose his career.

Attorney Murray filed several motions challenging the initial detention, administration of the field sobriety tests, and the arrest. By watching the officer's body camera, Attorney Murray also discovered that FG's blood test was performed in the garage of the hospital because all of the emergency rooms were occupied. To make matters worse, everything was done beside a dirty garbage can with much of the equipment being placed on the lid of the garbage can! Based upon this discovery, Attorney Murray challenged the blood test. Prior to the motion hearing, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the OWI and PAC charges and have the non-alcohol related charge of Negligent Operation issued which does not show up on an individual's driving record. Career saved.

*Since joining Melowski and Associates in September of 2012, Attorney Murray has obtained 33 amendments or dismissals in drunk driving cases among many other fantastic results.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Another Melowski & Associates OWI-Homicide Client Avoids Prison: Pleads to Reduced Charge and Sentenced to One Year in the County Jail with Full Work-Release Privileges

Six of Dennis Melowski's last eight OWI-Homicide* clients have avoided prison and been sentenced to county jail time with work-release. This is a record of success in these difficult cases that simply can't be matched by any other attorney in Wisconsin. And Dennis' work in this particular case demonstrates the lengths to which his firm will go to achieve the best possible result for their clients. After taking over the case from a local attorney, Dennis discovered some shocking legal improprieties by the police, judge and prosecutor, the exposure of which ultimately resulted in the latter two individuals being removed from the case. Given the gravity of the issues Dennis unearthed, the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office took over the prosecution and a judge from a county 2.5 hours away was assigned. After months and months of legal wrangling and negotiations, a remarkable plea agreement was reached in which the original charges of OWI-Homicide and PAC-Homicide were dismissed. In exchange, Dennis' client entered a no contest plea to a reduced charge of Negligent Homicide, with the Attorney General's Office agreeing to a sentence of just 12 months in the local jail with full work-release privileges, meaning Dennis' client would be released 12 hours per day for his job. The reduced charge also carried only a 1-year license revocation as opposed to the mandatory 5-year revocation that the original charges entailed. In her statements to the judge at the sentencing hearing, the assistant attorney general remarked that she could not recall her office ever agreeing to such a low sentence in a case like this, but that her hand was essentially forced by the legal issues Dennis brought to light. In fact, the proposed sentence was so atypical that it had to be approved by the attorney general himself before she could proceed with the agreement. In the end, the judge followed the plea agreement to the letter and Dennis' client walked out of the courtroom (he also got two weeks to report) a VERY happy man. The local newspaper account of the outcome in the case can be read here: http://www.yourdailyglobe.com/story/2017/03/01/news/kimball-drunk-driving-fatality-case-draws-year-in-jail-stiff-costs/8059.html

*An OWI-Homicide carries a maximum penalty of 40 years imprisonment and a $100,000.00 fine. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

10 Weeks, 10 Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions: Check Out the Truly Amazing Results We have Obtained for our Clients in just the last 2+ Months

Case #1: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .196 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Reckless Driving

AB came to us with a very difficult set of facts. He was found by the police passed out behind the wheel of a running vehicle parked in a lane of travel and performed poorly on the field sobriety tests, on camera. Despite the bleak outlook, AB had to fight his case because his job required driving a company vehicle and having fully valid privileges at all times. Through exhaustive questioning at AB's administrative suspension hearing, and intimate knowledge of proper police procedure, Dennis Melowski was able to lay the groundwork for two legal challenges in the case. Dennis was able to use these challenges as leverage to negotiate a fantastic result in AB's case. Just moments before AB's motion hearing was set to begin, Dennis convinced the prosecutor to reduce the OWI charge to Reckless Driving and to dismiss the remaining PAC charge. AB avoided any loss of license; avoided the mandatory IID installation; and, most importantly, avoided any type of alcohol-related conviction. Aside from paying a fine, AB suffered no consequences and still has his job.

Case #2: Complete Dismissal of OWI-2nd/PAC-2nd Charges (with .14 Blood Test Result)

AW was another client whose job depended on avoiding a drunk driving conviction and Dennis Melowski delivered in a major way. In a very difficult county, with an even more difficult prosecutor, Dennis was able to to successfully convince the judge that the arresting officer did not have proper grounds to have AW exit his vehicle to submit to field sobriety tests in the first place. As a result of the judge's ruling, all of the the evidence in AW's case, including the .14 blood test result, was thrown out and both the OWI and PAC charges were completely dismissed. It was the best possible outcome for AW because it is as if the charges were never issued. An amazing result...and an EXTREMELY happy client.

Case #3: Complete Dismissal of OWI-3rd/PAC-3rd Charges (with .23 Blood Test Result) 


JJ was yet another client who had to avoid a drunk driving conviction to save his job. And he, too, had a very challenging set of facts. Stopped for going more than 25mph over the speed limit and crossing the centerline, these were not even the worst facts Dennis Melowski had to contend wit. There was also a very damaging squad video and a blood test result that was nearly 3 times the legal limit. Despite what seemed to be far too many hurdles to overcome, Dennis was able to successfully convince the judge that JJ was unlawfully arrested...and he used the officer's own squad video to do it. Dennis was able to show the judge that JJ was, in fact, placed under arrest before the field sobriety tests were even conducted. As a result of the judge's ruling agreeing with Dennis, ALL of the evidence in JJ's case was thrown out and all charges were dismissed. Like the incident never happened in the first place. JJ was actually moved to tears at this outcome. Another VERY satisfied client.

Case #4: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .16 Breath Test Result) Reduced to Inattentive Driving and a Non-Traffic City Ordinance Violation

You may be sensing a theme. Most of our clients hire us because of very serious employment or professional concerns. And DD is yet another example. Having both a job that required a company vehicle and being a member of the Army Reserves, DD was highly motivated to fight his case for multiple reasons. And despite having a breath test result that was twice the legal limit, Dennis Melowski was able to negotiate an extremely favorable outcome. Due to some creative legal challenges Dennis was able to develop, he was ultimately able to convince the prosecutor to drop the original OWI and PAC charges in exchange for DD pleading no contest to the minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving and a non-traffic local city ordinance that wouldn't even appear on DD's driver record. Aside from paying some fines, DD would suffer no consequences. He completely avoided a drunk driving conviction; mandatory IID installation; and mandatory license revocation. If you ask DD, he will tell you that hiring Melowski & Associates was one of the best decisions he has ever made.

Case #5: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Reckless Driving in Walworth County

Despite KS's arrest occurring in a notoriously tough county, Dennis Melowski was able to negotiate an outstanding resolution of his case based on a significant procedural error made by the officer that Dennis was able to uncover that threatened the ability of the prosecutor to proceed with the Refusal charge. Dennis leveraged this into a reduction of the OWI charge to the non-alcohol-related offense of Reckless Driving and a complete dismissal of the Refusal charge. Aside from paying a fine, KS suffered no consequences and never lost his license for a single day. Needless to say, he was thrilled with this outstanding result.

Case #6: OWI-2nd/PAC-2nd (with .085 Blood Test Result) Amended to Reckless Driving and a Misdemeanor Offense of Obstructing an Officer

A second offense drunk driving charge carries significant penalties: mandatory jail time; 12-18 month license revocation; a fine and costs well over $1,000.00; lengthy IID installation; alcohol assessment and counseling; and a permanent entry on the driver's record. In this case, Dennis Melowski's client, JJ, avoided all of that. Although there was an accident involved, some difficult video evidence and even K-9 evidence, Dennis was ultimately able to negotiate a truly outstanding resolution for his client. In exchange for a no contest plea to Reckless Driving and Obstructing an Officer, the original OWI-2nd and PAC-2nd charges were completely dismissed. All JJ had to do was pay fines that totaled approximately $800. No jail; no license revocation; no IID installation; no counseling; not even probation. And, best of all, no drunk driving conviction.

Case #7: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .09 Breath Test Result) Reduced to Reckless Driving  and Unreasonable/Imprudent Speed

Mission accomplished for our client, JP. As a small business owner, JP is required to travel extensively (in state and out) to meet his company's needs. The mandatory license revocation he was facing for his first-ever drunk driving charge would be a huge blow to his company's success. He no longer has to worry about that thanks to the outstanding result Dennis Melowski obtained in his case. After a devastatingly successful cross-examination of the arresting officer at JP's municipal court trial, the prosecutor knew that a conviction on the OWI charge in circuit court was in grave doubt, so he finally agreed to a result for JP that completely avoided a drunk driving conviction and resulted in no license loss. Under the terms of the agreement, JP would plead no contest to reduced charges of Reckless Driving and Imprudent Speed with the only penalty being two fines. Another very real result for a very happy client. 

Case #8: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Reckless Driving for CDL Client

This was a major victory for Dennis Melowski's client, JK. As the head of a local public works department, JK was required to have a valid CDL for his well-paying job. Unfortunately, a drunk driving conviction results in an automatic 1-year disqualification of CDL privileges. The only way JK could salvage his career would be to not be convicted of either the OWI or the Refusal charge. And Dennis Melowski delivered. This was another case that occurred in a difficult county, with a difficult prosecutor. Nevertheless, Dennis' relentless pursuit of a legal challenge to dismiss the Refusal charge finally paid off when the prosecutor agreed to resolve JK's case with a reduced charge of Reckless Driving. This was after JK's first lawyer fought the case for nearly a year and made no headway. This is the difference superior lawyering can make. Just ask JK.

Case #9: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .09 Breath Test Result) Reduced to Inattentive Driving

This fantastic result for our client, CT, occurred in a Milwaukee County municipality with a well-known reputation for being very inflexible when it comes to negotiating drunk driving cases. But it only took one cross-examination of the arresting officer by our firm in court for the prosecutor to realize what they were up against. After significantly undermining this officer's credibility at a contested motion hearing, the prosecutor had little choice but to agree to our terms of resolving the case with a simple minor traffic ticket for Inattentive Driving. As an up-and-coming professional with a very bright future, CT was absolutely thrilled with this result. You will be reading his 5-star review of Dennis Melowski's work in his case in the very near future.

Case #10: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .11 Breath Test Result) Reduced to Inattentive Driving and a Non-Traffic City Ordinance Ticket

This outstanding result was negotiated with a prosecutor who is very familiar with Dennis Melowski's success rate at trial. Knowing that Dennis had already locked the arresting officer in with some very favorable testimony at RI's administrative suspension hearing, and not wanting to risk losing the whole case at a contested trial with Dennis, the prosecutor did the prudent thing and settled the case. Under the very favorable terms Dennis negotiated, RI would completely avoid an alcohol-related conviction and avoid all of the consequences associated with the original charges. He could not be happier. In fact, he was SO happy that he posted the following 5-star review of  Dennis' work on the independent lawyer rating website Avvo:

Posted by Bob 
When I was arrested and charged with OWI and Pac I knew right away I wanted to fight it. I called two local lawyers and felt they only wanted my money and an easy guilty/no contest plea. A friend referred me to Dennis Melowski, and I was impressed right from the start. Not only was he knowledgeable but him and his staff took care of EVERYTHING. Him and his staff were always there to answer any of my questions and were always timely to reach back to me on any matter. Even before I hired Dennis he was straight with me and gave his honest opinion about my case. Oh yeah, he's also pretty damn good at his job, he got my case pled down to Inattentive driving and Disorderly conduct with a motor vehicle, with out going to court. Dennis and his team are worth every penny, and I couldn't be happier with the results. If you or any one you know needs an OWI lawyer, Dennis and his firm should be the first and last call you make.