Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 7, 2012: OWI-2nd Reduced to Reckless Driving

Perhaps no class of drivers is hurt more by a drunk driving conviction than commercial drivers (CDL holders). A first offense results in disqualification of CDL privileges for one year. A second or subsequent conviction results in lifetime disqualification. This "CDL Death Penalty" is exactly what RVM was facing when he hired Dennis Melowski to fight his second offense OWI case. Initially, it looked like the case would be an uphill battle. RVM had put his car in the ditch and allegedly declined to perform field sobriety tests because "he had been drinking." He also had a breath test result of .21. However, as is typically the case, things are never quite like they appear. As Dennis began digging further into the case, he was able to find several deficiencies in the officer's investigation of the case. In addition, when questioning the officer at the DOT suspension hearing, Dennis was able to get the officer to concede a crucial point in the case: the officer did not know what time RVM's car went off the road and into the ditch. If the officer did not know this fact, it would be impossible for the prosecution to prove that RVM's breath test was taken within 3 hours of the time of driving, a requirement under Wisconsin law. Without the use of the breath test, a conviction on the drunk driving charge would be difficult. Ultimately, the prosecutor thought the same thing and agreed to have the drunk driving charges dropped to Reckless Driving, which is a non-criminal and non-alcohol-related charge. RVM paid a fine of $389.50, but otherwise suffered no consequences. He did not lose his license for even a single day and his commercial privileges were completely spared. RVM is thrilled.