Friday, May 6, 2016
Add 5 More to the List: 5 of the Firm's Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions in Cases Across the State
JF came to our firm with a difficult case. Police were dispatched to two vehicles in a ditch by a caller claiming that both drivers were intoxicated. When police arrived, JF and the other driver ran off into a forest. When the other driver was caught, JF walked back to several officers who were not in a good mood. Without being given an opportunity to explain, JF was grabbed by the arm and hauled back to the road while asking officers not to touch her. When she pulled away, she was arrested for obstructing an officer, handcuffed and placed in the rear of a squad car. She was then issued a citation for Operating While Intoxicated and allegedly refused the breath test. She was then charged with Refusal of a Chemical Test and given another ticket for failing to update the Department of Transportation with her new address. In short, the cops threw the book at her.
The reports of the officers painted a very unflattering picture of JF. They made it seem like a clear case of a drunk and belligerent driver who got stuck in the ditch. However, a review of the video revealed a much different story. It was the arresting officer who was disrespectful and instigated the belligerent behavior. In fact, the video caught the officer making inappropriate and unprofessional statements to JF and about not being a fan of the public in general. Attorney Murray also requested a copy of the instant messaging logs of the conversations between the officers, wherein two other officers were commenting about how the arresting officer would never make it through his career without being sued.
As a result of Attorney Murray's painstakingly thorough review of all the discovery materials, he was able to unearth several viable legal challenges that would prove crucial to his later negotiations with the prosecutor. In fact, immediately prior to the motion hearing, the prosecutor reluctantly agreed to reduce the OWI charge to a simple Reckless Driving ticket and dismiss the Refusal charge. Not only was this a great result for our client but this case helped expose an officer's very troublesome behavior. And JF couldn't be happier about that.
**This was the 24th client for whom Attorney Murray has obtained a reduction of drunk driving charges to a non-alcohol-related offense since he joined our firm in September of 2013. Be sure to ask ask other lawyers you might be considering if they can demonstrate a similar success rate during the same time span. Don't be surprised when they dodge the question.
This was another case that began with some difficult facts. MK's car had gone off the road and into the snowy median of a busy highway. A deputy county sheriff arrived on scene as MK was attempting to get the vehicle unstuck. After admitting to having several drinks at a local casino, the deputy had MK perform some field sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed. A subsequent breath test revealed an alcohol level of .15, nearly twice the legal limit. Despite the difficult facts, MK knew he had to fight the case because his job as a paramedic required that he maintain fully valid driving privileges at all times. A drunk driving conviction would not only result in the immediate loss of his current job, it would make it nearly impossible to be hired again in the foreseeable future because the stain of a drunk driving conviction is very tough to overcome in the paramedic profession. Based primarily on Dennis Melowski's outstanding online reviews, MK decided that he was the only attorney he would trust for the task of saving his career. And Dennis definitely delivered. After effectively cross-examining the arresting deputy at MK's administrative suspension hearing, Dennis was able to lay the groundwork for a promising legal challenge regarding the admissibility of the breath test result. This legal challenge provided a substantial amount of leverage in his negotiations with the prosecutor, so much so that Dennis was able to convince the prosecutor to drop the original OWI and PAC charges in exchange for no contest pleas to the minor traffic tickets of Driving Too Fast for Conditions and Inattentive Driving. Not only did this outstanding resolution preserve MK's driving privileges, but it avoided a drunk driving conviction altogether. Needless to say, MK was thrilled with this outcome and his career as a paramedic remains fully intact.
SM could not fathom being a convicted drunk driver. As a law abiding citizen her whole life, being cuffed and stuffed in the back of a squad car on the night of her arrest was literally the worst experience she had ever gone through. Add to that her realization that the stigma of a drunk driving conviction would follow her forever and it was simply too much for her to bear. She was determined to do something about it, especially because she knew she had been unfairly treated by the police. She wanted to hire the very best attorney in the state to fight her case and Dennis Melowski was her man. This was another case where extremely thorough review of all the discovery materials paid off in a big way. Dennis was able to obtain a copy of the 911 call that had gotten the police involved in SM's case in the first place. After listening to the recording a number of times, Dennis discovered a game changing legal issue that could threaten the prosecutor's entire case. Dennis raised this legal issue in the form of a motion that he filed with the judge. Shortly before the hearing on this motion, Dennis was able to negotiate a fantastic outcome for SM: the drunk driving charges would be dropped in exchange for a no contest plea to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving. Aside from paying a fine, SM suffered no penalties. More importantly, she is NOT a convicted drunk driver. Mission accomplished.
We frequently take over cases from other attorneys after they inform their clients that there is nothing they can do for them and to take whatever crappy offer the prosecutor is willing to make. Interestingly, these other attorneys often hold themselves out as being "tough" or "experienced" in drunk driving defense. More often than not, however, those claims turn out to be little more than sales pitches. MW's case is a perfect example of this. Another attorney had represented MW for a few months when he finally told him there was nothing he could do for him. This attorney advised MW to just plead guilty to the OWI charge, an outcome that would have effectively ended MW's career because it would have resulted in his CDL being disqualified for one full year. MW knew he had to do better than that, so he fired his other attorney and hired Dennis Melowski. It was the best decision MW ever made. After reviewing the case, Dennis found an issue that the other attorney had completely missed. After bringing this issue to the attention of the prosecutor (whom our firm has had much success against over the years), Dennis worked out a fantastic deal for MW that not only avoided a drunk driving conviction, but would not even appear on MW's driver record. This resolution saved MW's CDL and, quite possibly, his entire career. One of the many advantages our firm offers over others is the peace of mind that comes from hiring the firm that has the very best record of success in our field. No sales pitch, just a fact. Ask MW.
CM is employed as an electrical power lineman for a large power and light company in another state. This is a very lucrative profession, but it also requires fully valid CDL privileges. A drunk driving conviction, even a first offense, results in a mandatory one year disqualification of a CDL. Moreover, even after the year-long disqualification is over, companies are often reluctant to hire someone with a drunk driving conviction on their record, a conviction that will remain there for life. So when CM was picked up for drunk driving when he was back visiting his hometown, he knew it was something he would have to fight in order to save his career. After a LOT of research, CM decided to hire Dennis Melowski. Much like MW in our last post, this was the best decision CM could have made. Despite some very difficult facts, Dennis was able to find just enough in the case to convince the prosecutor to drop the original OWI and PAC charges in exchange for a no contest plea to a Reckless Driving ticket. Due to the deal Dennis worked out, CM never lost his license for a single day and his CDL was completely spared. And he is still a power lineman. Another very real result.