Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6, 2011: OWI-1st Reduced to Minor Traffic Offense of Inattentive Driving

Our client, CLN, came to us with an OWI-1st in which her breath test result was reported as .13. The case was further complicated by the fact that the police beleived that CLN had been involved in an accident in the parking lot of the tavern she had been at earlier and left the scene. CLN had several immediate concerns when she hired us. First, she needed to avoid the automatic administrative suspension of her license that was to be imposed 30 days from the date of her arrest. If the suspension took effect, her job would have been severely jeopardized. More importantly, she needed to avoid a drunk driving conviction which would stain her record (and career) for life. Dennis Melowski accomplished both goals. By exposing police failure to comply with the requirements of the administarative suspension process, the Department of Transportation did not impose the administrative suspension in CLN's case. This meant CLN's driving privileges remained fully intact while Dennis litigated her case in court. CLN's second goal of avoiding a drunk driving conviction altogether was accomplished just 6 days before her scheduled jury trial, when Dennis convinced the prosecutor to reduce the original OWI charge to the minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. How? Among other factors, the prosecutor learned of another case Dennis successfully resolved in a neighboring jurisdiction--a case with far more difficult circumstances than CLN's--and believed he would not be successful in getting a conviction at trial, given the comparatively favorable facts in CLN's case. Rather than risk losing the entire case to Dennis at trial, the prosecutor agreed to drop the drunk driving charge. CLN paid a fine of $187.90, but otherwise suffered no consequences from this incident and never lost her license for a single day. Most importantly, CLN successfully avoided the life-altering stigma of being a convicted drunk driver.