Friday, May 25, 2012

May 23, 2012: OWI-4th Reduced to Non-Traffic Misdemeanor

When BDQ was stopped for driving without his headlights on at bar time, it quickly turned into an arrest for a fourth offense drunk driving charge. This is a very serious offense, typically involving a sentence of several months in jail; 3-year license revocation; a fine of several thousand dollars; and mandatory ignition interlock device for a long time. On top of that, these cases are usually very easy for a prosecutor to prove, since the legal limit drops all the way down to .02 for fourth and subsequent offenders. For many people, just one drink is sufficient to put them at or over this very low level. So when BDQ's blood test came back at .21 (more than ten times his legal limit) Dennis Melowski had his work cut out for him.

This case is a testament to the importance of patience, strategic timing and relentless advocacy. BDQ's arrest occurred in December of 2009 and was resolved the day before his jury trial scheduled in May of 2012. In the two and a half years the case was pending, Dennis dealt with numerous different prosecutors who would not budge on the drunk driving charge. But Dennis perservered and zealously advocated for BDQ at every turn. Finally, the day before the jury trial, the prosecutor was convinced that the problems Dennis had uncovered in BDQ's case, from errors at the lab to failures by the police to document key evidence, were enough to create reasonable doubt in BDQ's case. An incredible deal was reached. The original OWI-4th charge was reduced to the non-alcohol-related, non-traffic misdemeanor offense of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. The charge of PAC-4th was dismissed completely. BDQ pled no contest to the reduced charge, which will not even appear on his driver record and carries no loss of license. Even better, he would not have to spend a single day in jail or be subjected to the costly and embarrassing ignition interlock device. Instead, BDQ was placed on probation for one year and was ordered to pay a fine, but otherwise suffered no consequences from this incident. Another very satisfied client.