Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Landmark Win in the Wisconsin Supreme Court for Dennis Melowski: State's High Court Tosses a Blood Test Result in a Felony OWI-Injury Case Due to Coerced Consent**

In a landmark decision that will have a statewide impact on drunk driving prosecutions, Dennis Melowski was able to successfully convince the Wiscosnin Supreme Court that his client's .10 blood test result should be thrown out in a prosecution for a serious felony OWI-Injury case. Dennis argued that the form read to his client seeking his consent to a blood test was misleading and unlawfully coercive. The "Informing the Accused" form is one that is used by all law enforcement agencies across the state of Wisconsin. It is read any time an officer wants a suspected impaired driver to consent to a breath or blood test following an arrest, which is virtually every case. This form, however, significantly misstates the consequences a person is facing for refusing such a test when they have been involved in an accident where there has been a serious injury or death. Essentially, the form threatens the accused driver with penalties that could not lawfully be enforced. Because the penalties that were threatened to Dennis' client could not be enforced in his situation, the High Court agreed with Dennis that his client's consent to the blood draw was coerced and not voluntary. If consent to a search (in this case a blood test) is not the product of voluntary consent, the fruits of the search (the alcohol level) have to be thrown out. Dennis' victory is being hailed as the most significant ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the field of DUI defense in 20 years.

The Supreme Court's full decision can be read here: https://www.wicourts.gov/sc/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=192464

Media accounts of the decision can be read here: http://www.fdlreporter.com/story/news/2017/07/07/high-court-finds-former-fond-du-lac-mans-blood-draw-unconstitutional/460226001/

**This was Dennis Melowski's fourth time arguing a case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and his third victory.