Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Back to Back Motion Hearing Victories for Dennis Melowski Result in Complete Dismissal of Two OWI-2nd Cases
Dennis Melowski knew something wasn't right with this case the first time he read the police report. The officer who arrested SH had seen very few signs of impairment prior to having SH submit to a roadside preliminary breath test (PBT), the result of which was the only thing that led to SH being arrested for drunk driving, unfortunately for the second time. In Wisconsin, the law requires an officer to have "probable cause to believe" a person is impaired by alcohol in order to justify administering a PBT. Dennis believed that the officer simply didn't have grounds to give SH the PBT, given how well he had performed on the field sobriety tests. Dennis filed a motion with the judge asking for the PBT to be thrown out, along with all the other evidence the officer gathered after the PBT was illegally administered to his client, including the .142 blood test result. After a contested hearing in which Dennis had an opportunity to cross-examine the officer and expose all of the weaknesses of his investigation, the judge agreed with Dennis and threw out all of the evidence against SH. Given the judge's ruling, the district attorney's office had no choice but to dismiss all charges against SH. It was the best result he could have possibly hoped for.
Dennis' victory at this particular motion hearing was extremely satisfying because it was the result of perhaps his most devastatingly effective cross-examination of an officer in his career. Dennis had filed a motion challenging the initial stop of DC's vehicle, along with a motion challenging the summoning of a K-9 unit to search DC's car for drugs. When Dennis questioned the arresting officer at the motion hearing, he was able to get him to admit to several untruths during his testimony. The officer became so concerned that Dennis would expose other areas of his very questionable testimony that he simply began to agree with everything Dennis needed to ensure his motions would be granted, which the judge did in very short order. It was one of the most surreal experiences of Dennis' career. After the judge granted Dennis' motions, the prosecutor immediately dismissed all charges against DC. He walked out of the courtroom completely exonerated!
By the way, as soon as we receive the transcript of Dennis' cross-examination from this hearing, we will be posting it right here, so be sure to check back in a few weeks. You won't believe what you will read. But you will see why this firm's courtroom excellence is without peer.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
When we say we handle cases all over Wisconsin, we mean it. In just the past few months, our statewide reputation for excellence has allowed our clients to avoid drunk driving convictions in all of the following counties : Winnebago, Waukesha, Eau Claire, Green Lake, Outagamie, Sheboygan, Racine and Vilas. Here are their outstanding results:
Case #1: Jury Finds Client NOT GUILTY in OWI-1st/PAC-1st CaseOur client was pulled over for for going 88 MPH in a 70 MPH zone; failed the FST's (at least according to the officer); and had a .09 blood test result. Through a withering cross-examination of the arresting officer, and an even more damaging cross-examination of the lab analyst (a supervisor, no less), Dennis damaged the credibility of the State's case so significantly that the jury had little difficulty returning NOT GUILTY verdicts for his client.
Case #2: OWI-3rd/PAC-3rd/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Reckless Driving
This case is the perfect example of the lengths to which our firm will go to accomplish our clients' goals. SK came to us charged with her third drunk driving offense. By closely examining the court records from her second offense years earlier, Dennis found a way to successfully attack that prior conviction. By doing that, SK's first offense became too old to count, which meant Dennis was able to have the OWI-3rd reduced to just an OWI-1st. While most attorneys would be thrilled with such an outcome, Dennis kept fighting the case because he knew his client did not want to be convicted of drunk driving. Through months of continued litigation and negotiation, Dennis was able to get the prosecutor to reduce the OWI to a simple Reckless Driving ticket and SK avoided a drunk driving conviction altogether. If you are speaking with other attorneys about representation for your drunk driving case, please ask them to tell you about the last time they were able to achieve a result like this. And make them be specific.
Case #3: ALL Charges Dismissed in OWI-1st/RCS-1st/Possession of THC Case
KJ was facing several serious drug-related driving charges, as well as criminal charges for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. After going through the squad video evidence with a fine-tooth comb, Dennis Melowski discovered that KJ was subjected to an unconstitutional detention while a K-9 unit was summoned to the scene to search his vehicle. In short, at the time the K-9 unit was called, the officer who stopped KJ did not have probable cause to detain him for anything. Dennis filed a motion with the judge arguing this very point. After a contested hearing in which all of the officers involved testified, Dennis was able to convince the judge that he was right. The judge granted Dennis' motion and all of the evidence against KJ was thrown out. As a result, all of the charges were dismissed as if they never happened in the first place.
Case #4: Complete Dismissal of OWI-3rd/PAC-3rd Charges for CDL ClientThis is another fantastic result for one of Dennis' many CDL clients. CG was charged with his third OWI. As he does in every case like this, Dennis closely examined whether there was any way to challenge one of CG's prior OWI convictions, which would substantially reduce the penalties CG was exposed to. After much leg work, Dennis found a significant problem with CG's second conviction from out of state. Dennis filed the appropriate motion and a hearing was held where the judge agreed with Dennis that CG's second offense should not be counted. This resulted in CG's first offense being too old to count. Thanks to Dennis' hard work, CG now found himself facing only an OWI-1st instead of an OWI-3rd. But because CG was a CDL holder, he had to avoid a drunk driving conviction altogether, even if it was just a first offense. After months of continued litigation, the judge dismissed the OWI-1st charges as well. NO DRUNK DRIVING CONVICTION. CG's job was saved and he is one of the most grateful clients we have ever had.
Case #5: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .142 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets for CDL Client
CL was referred to Dennis Melowski by a former sheriff's deputy Dennis had a jury trial with years ago. Cops have a very good sense for who the very best defense attorneys are because they have an opportunity to see their skill level first-hand in court. This particular retired deputy has referred several clients to Dennis over the years and Dennis has never disappointed. And CL's case was no different. Despite some very difficult facts, including a serious accident and a blood test well above the legal limit, Dennis was able to expose enough problems in the case to convince the District Attorney that a conviction on the original charges was in jeopardy. Dennis was able to negotiate a fantastic resolution: the OWI and PAC charges were dropped in exchange for CL pleading no contest to the minor traffic offenses of Inattentive Driving and Deviation from Designated Lane. CL never lost his license for even a single day and his CDL remained fully intact. He was VERY happy with this result.
Case #6: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Inattentive Driving for CDL ClientYes, ANOTHER of our CDL clients avoided a drunk driving conviction in this case. BF had put his truck in the ditch on a snowy night. He walked to a nearby home for assistance and the police were promptly notified by the homeowner. BF failed the field sobriety tests and (allegedly) refused to submit to a breath test. Admittedly, not the greatest hand to be dealt in a drunk driving case. But after much negotiation with a prosecutor against whom Dennis has had much success over the years, an outstanding resolution was reached. The OWI and Refusal charges were dropped in exchange for a no contest plea to Inattentive Driving, a minor traffic offense. Another commercial driver's career saved.
Case #7: Complete Dismissal Of Refusal Charge in OWI-3rd Case
This is a follow-up to a previous entry on our Real Results Tracker from June of 2017. Last June, Dennis took CR's case to a jury trial in Waukesha County and won not guilty verdicts for charges of OWI-3rd/PAC-3rd and Operating with Restricted controlled Substance-3rd. It was a complete exoneration by the jury for CR. But there was still a charge of Refusal of Chemical Test that had to be decided by the judge. After extensive briefing, the judge ruled in CR's favor and dismissed the Refusal charge, the last charge remaining. Another complete exoneration for CR, who walked out of this case with literally no conviction for anything. It was a complete and utter victory across the board. As we have said repeatedly, if you are considering another firm for representation in your drunk driving case, ask them the last time they took a case like this to trial and won it. And also won the Refusal hearing. Make them be specific. Their dancing around the question will tell you all you need to know.
Case #8: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Reckless Driving
This was a case that Dennis was able to resolve so successfully because of the case he won this past summer in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. By crafting a creative legal argument based largely on that decision and extending it to the facts of BE's case, Dennis convinced the prosecutor that he would not be able to prevail at a refusal hearing, which would in turn significantly jeopardize his chances for conviction on the OWI charge as well. Rather than risk a complete loss, the prosecutor agreed to drop the OWI and Refusal charges in exchange for a no contest plea to Reckless Driving. BE paid a fine, but otherwise suffered no consequences. Most importantly, he avoided becoming a convicted drunk driver.
Case #9: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Operating Left of Center
Very few attorneys know the intricacies of Wisconsin's drunk driving laws as well as ours. Even fewer have the litigation skill necessary to leverage that knowledge into truly outstanding results for their clients. GH's case is a great example of the benefits of hiring a law firm that truly is at the very top of its field. GH came to Dennis with very difficult facts, especially as they related to his refusal of chemical test charge. However, by exploiting a mistake the officer made in the preparation and service of an important document, Dennis created a crack in the case that soon became a giant hole. Dennis was able to use this to negotiate a dismissal of the OWI and Refusal Charges in exchange for a no contest plea to Operating Left of Center, a very minor traffic offense. GH could not possibly be happier with this outcome.