Thursday, February 7, 2013

January 28, 2013: OWI-1st/PAC-1st Reduced to Reckless Driving

Many of our clients hire us because of the profound consequences a drunk driving conviction will have on their jobs and their ability to find work in the future. That was certainly the case with LDJ, who was stopped and arrested in one of his company's trucks. LDJ is employed  by a well-known window company as a supervisor-installer. It's a job he's had for several years and he is regarded as a valued employee. But company policy is pretty clear cut. If you get convicted of drunk driving, especially if the incident involves a company-owned vehicle, you're out of a job. LDJ simply could not afford to do anything but fight the case. So LDJ gave Dennis Melowski a call after being referred by a friend. When Dennis first looked at all of the evidence, it looked like LDJ might have an uphill battle, since he was called in by another driver who gave a detailed statement to the police about how dangerously LDJ was supposedly driving. This was on top of both a roadside breath test and police department breath test that were over the legal limit. But after Dennis thoroughly questioned the arresting officer at LDJ's suspension hearing, things began to quickly improve. As it turns out, the arresting officer followed LDJ a considerable distance after receiving the complaint from the other driver and noticed no problems at all with LDJ's driving. The officer simply decided to "check him out" just in case. This admission by the officer provided Dennis some much-needed ammunition to raise a potential legal challenge to LDJ's initial stop. Other problems in the case soon became apparent. The officer's own squad video showed LDJ doing a very good job on the field sobriety tests, casting significant doubt on the other driver's claims that LDJ was so intoxicated that he was "all over the road." In the end, Dennis made it apparent to the prosecutor that a conviction on the drunk driving charges would be difficult. Dennis negotiated a very favorable resolution for LDJ. The drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, LDJ plead no contest to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving, which is a non-alcohol-related traffic offense that carries no loss of license. LDJ just had to pay a fine that was about half the amount of the one he had been facing. More importantly, by avoiding a drunk driving conviction, LDJ kept his job and his career is thriving. Another very satisfied client.