Tuesday, November 22, 2011
When TMR first contacted Dennis Melowski, he told an all-too-familiar story. He had already spoken with several other attorneys who told him there was no hope in trying to fight his OWI-3rd case. There was just too much evidence to overcome--- a bad accident and a .224 blood test result. The advice TMR received from these other attorneys was sadly typical: plead guilty and they would argue for a lesser jail sentence on his behalf. This was devastating news to TMR. You see, as a delivery driver whose job required a valid CDL, a conviction for a third OWI would mean lifetime disqualification of TMR's commercial privileges. Not only would this mean the loss of TMR's current job, it also meant he would never again be able to drive commercially. Fortunately, TMR called Dennis before he followed the advice of these other attorneys. After listening to TMR's story, Dennis suspected the police officer did not have sufficient evidence to draw TMR's blood in the first place. This suspicion was confirmed through aggressive and thorough cross-examination of the officer at TMR's DOT suspension hearing. Dennis brought the issue he discovered to the attention of the prosecutor assigned to TMR's case. After tough and lengthy negotiations, the prosecutor agreed that Dennis was right---the prospect of getting a conviction on the drunk driving charge was slim if there was no justification for the blood draw. Dennis convinced the prosecutor to drop the drunk driving charges. In exchange, TMR plead no contest to a non-alcohol-related, non-traffic misdemeanor offense that will not even appear on TMR's driver record. TMR received no jail time, no license revocation and was not even ordered to pay a fine. More importantly, however, TMR's career as a commercial driver was saved. Thank God he didn't listen to those other attorneys.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Prison is terrifying. Living in a restricted and confined space, for years at a time, away from your loved ones, is a frightening prospect. And that was exactly what GSK was facing when he contacted our office. GSK was charged with a Felony OWI -5th Offense, where his blood alcohol level was .136. Felony OWI's are difficult to defend because the blood alcohol limit goes from the standard .08 level down to .02, making the State's case much easier to prove. On top of this was GSK's realization that the State was insisting on a prison sentence, as GSK's arrest occurred in a county notorious for handing down harsh sentences in felony OWI cases. GSK was beside himself. Prison would mean losing his job, his home, his freedom, and potentially his family. While preparing for trial, Attorney Singh noticed a potentially serious error in the blood test. He sat down with Attorney Melowski and they drafted a game plan for trial. On the day of trial, Attorney Singh executed the plan flawlessly. The defense caught the prosecutor completely off guard, to the point that the judge threw out GSK's blood test result in the middle of trial. More significantly, the judge instructed the jury to completely disregard all testimony from the State's blood test expert because of the significant problem Attorney Singh exposed with GSK's blood test. The jury came back in 10 minutes with a verdict of 'not guilty'. The client was reduced to tears of happiness and relief when the verdict was read. He had spent the last 9 months preparing for the prospect of prison. He thought his life, as he had known it, was over. However, because of Attorney Singh's diligence GSK enjoyed the rest of the week working on his farm and spending time with his family--completely exonerated.