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Another High-End OWI Avoids Prison

For the vast majority of people convicted of a sixth-offense OWI in Dane County, prison is the result. In this case, the client did not originally hire Chirafisi & Verhoff.  He chose a different firm. And it looked like prison was where he was headed.  The client was arrested after police observed him speeding and driving the wrong way down a major road in the Madison area.  He agreed to take a blood test, which returned a reported value in excess of 0.20 percent.  The client also told police he was impaired and should not have been driving.  As his case moved toward trial, the prosecutor was insisting on a lengthy prison sentence.  Frustrated, the client decided to go in a different direction for legal represented and turned to our firm for help.  From the outset, he indicated he really did not want to have a jury trial in the case.  But he also did not want to go to prison.  Attorney Tim Verhoff began by reviewing the client’s prior convictions to see if they were valid.  This was something the first lawyer did not do.  Attorney Verhoff realized that while all of the priors appeared valid at first blush, the only documentation he could find for one of them was on the client’s driving record.  Attorney Verhoff could not locate an actual court record associated with the conviction.  Attorney Verhoff brought this to the attention of the prosecutor.  In addition, Attorney Verhoff began a series of meetings with the prosecution to explain why probation, not prison, was appropriate for his client.

The prosecutor, who had been adamant that a prison sentence was necessary, began to change her mind.  Ultimately, she agreed if Attorney Verhoff did not challenge the questionable prior conviction, she would recommend the judge place the client on probation with some conditional jail time.  The parties appeared before the judge for the plea hearing and recommended a probationary sentence.  At first the judge was skeptical.  But after hearing Attorney Verhoff explain why the parties thought probation was appropriate, the judge agreed and sentenced him to probation.  Although the client was ordered to serve a jail sentence as a condition of probation, the jail sentence meant the client would not lose his job and could continue to care for his ailing mother.  A few days after the sentence was imposed, Attorney Verhoff received a call from a grateful client.  Not only did the client avoid prison, but he called our office to let us know the Sheriff’s Department had authorized him to serve his sentence on a home-detention monitoring system.  Needless to say, the client was happy that he decided to switch attorneys and hire our firm.