Monday, October 21, 2013

October 15, 2013: OWI/PAC-1st (with .145 Blood Test) Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

This was yet another career-saving outcome for one of our many commercial driving (CDL) clients. For the last 15+ years, our client, DAB,  has held an excellent driving position  with a nationally-known Wisconsin company. DAB's record of service for this company had been impeccable and he was a very valued employee. As is often the case, however, DAB's company had a very strict policy that called for immediate termination upon a DUI conviction. The company's policy was so strict that termination would result even if the DUI would get reduced to Reckless Driving. This meant that from day one, Dennis Melowski knew that DAB's case would have to be pushed as far as necessary to convince the prosecutor to resolve the case with a minor traffic offense to save DAB's job.

At first, it appeared that Dennis was facing a steep uphill battle given the allegations against DAB. The police had accused him of driving his truck off of a straight stretch of road right into a tree, at a very high rate of speed. The resulting collision totaled DAB's truck and injured him to the point that flight for life had to be called. The blood test at the hospital where DAB was flown revealed an alcohol level of .145, a result that far exceeded the legal limit of .08. The prosecutor initially assigned to the case took a very hard-line approach and was unwilling to give DAB any breaks. But this prosecutor did not have the experience necessary to perceive the many weak points in her case that Dennis was able to identify through careful questioning of the arresting officer at DAB's DOT suspension hearing. After a lengthy hearing was held for the judge to address the legal challenges Dennis had raised, it became apparent that the case against DAB was far from air-tight. Once a more experienced prosecutor was assigned to brief the issues Dennis argued to the judge, the County began to realize that Dennis was probably right. Rather than risk losing the entire case, the experienced prosecutor finally agreed to Dennis' demands and a fantastic settlement was negotiated. The original drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, DAB plead no contest to two minor traffic tickets: Inattentive Driving and Unreasonable and Imprudent Speed. Aside from paying fines, DAB suffered no consequences from this incident. Both his regular and commercial driving privileges were completely spared and he was able to avoid the career-killing stigma of being a convicted drunk driver. And he still has his job.