Friday, March 9, 2012
March 7, 2012: Complete Acquittal in OWI-1st Case---Another Exonerated CDL Client to Add to the List
JRW's case is yet another victory for a CDL client--the 11th time in just 13 months that a Melowski & Associates CDL client has avoided a drunk driving conviction. Due to a particularly stubborn prosecutor, this case went all the way to a jury trial. After all, the prosecutor thought he had a slam-dunk case. JRW had been stopped for going 78mph in a 55mph zone. He supposedly "failed" the field sobriety tests (on camera), had a roadside breath test result of .21 and another .13 breath test result at the police station. Plus, JRW suppossedly admitted to the officer that "this was all my fault." In short, the prosecutor felt very confident going into trial. But after Dennis Melowski caught the police witnesses red-handed in several serious breaches of protocol and contradictions in their stories, the wheels quickly fell off the prosecutor's bus. By using the arresting officer's own squad video, Dennis completely turned the tables against him, severely damaging his credibility. Things were even worse for the breath test cop. By the end of Dennis' relentless cross-examination, the officer's credibility was so undermined that he simply began answering "I can't remember" to every question Dennis asked. The jury was literally smirking by this point. And the speed of the jury's Not Guilty verdicts (just 34 minutes) showed their complete rejection of the prosecutor's claims. JRW walked out of the courthouse completely exonerated.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Dennis Melowski gets results for his clients that other lawyers simply don't. DDL's case is a perfect example. DDL was charged with his sixth offense OWI (a very serious felony). Even worse, DDL was charged in Washington County, widely regarded as one of the toughest counties in the state when it comes to sentencing felony (5th offense or higher) drunk drivers. In 99% of cases, people in Washington County who have a sixth offense or higher receive a prison sentence, usually a substantial one. In fact, just 7 weeks earlier, the same judge assigned to DDL's case had sentenced a man to prison for 2 years---and that was only a fifth offense. Fortunately, DDL had Dennis on his side. Despite having to contend with a .157 blood test result, Dennis was able to get the District Attorney to agree to a 12 month county jail sentence with work release on the OWI-6th charge. This meant the client would be released 12 hours per day, 6 days a week, for his job. DDL would also receive good time credit under the agreement, meaning his actual time served would be only 9 months. How was such an outstanding agreement reached in such a notorious county? By relentlessly pursuing several legal issues and challenges to evidence on DDL's behalf, Dennis ultimately convinced the District Attorney to believe that DDL's case did not warrant a prison sentence. But would the judge agree? Obviously, knowing what this same judge had done in a lesser case just 7 weeks earlier, Dennis and DDL were concerned. But after putting on a sentencing presentation that the judge called "so eloquent" he adopted the sentence that Dennis had negotiated. DDL would not go to prison. Instead, he kept his job, gets to see his son, and will be home in 9 months. DDL literally wept with joy.
As an employee at a nuclear power facility, our client, JJK, requires a high level of security clearance. A conviction for any type of alcohol-related driving offense would severely jeopardize that. So when JJK picked up his first OWI offense he knew he had to do something about it if he wanted to continue his promising career. Faced with a .159 blood test result, JJK knew he had to find somebody with a long history of success dealing with such challenging evidence. Dennis Melowski was his man. By closely examining the officer's squad video, Dennis believed that the officer did not have a valid basis to stop JJK in the first place. Although the officer claimed he stopped JJK for speeding, it was not based on a radar or laser reading. Rather, the officer "visually estimated" JJK's speed. However, when Dennis watched the officer's squad video, he noticed that the officer did not have a sufficient opportunity to see JJK's vehicle to make a reliable "visual estimate" of his speed. Dennis retained an expert, a retired sheriff's deputy, to testify about the requirements necessary for a reliable visual estimate of speed. They were simply not present in JJK's case. Dennis filed a motion to this effect and the case was set for a hearing. Before the hearing took place, however, the prosecutor agreed to drop the drunk driving charges in exchange for an Inattentive Driving ticket, which is a non-alcohol-related offense that carries no loss of license and only 4 points. JJK paid a fine but otherwise suffered no consequences from this incident. He never lost his license for even a single day. Another promising career saved.