Here we go again: Is Washington State Getting Even Tougher on DUI Arrests?

January 25th, 2014

We have seen many sweeping DUI changes in DUI penalties in Washington State over the past year. For example, repeat offenders are now booked into jail after being arrested for a new DUI. See: http://washington-dui.com/wa-dui-blog/uncategorized/repeat-dui-offenders-beware/ and also: http://washington-dui.com/wa-dui-blog/uncategorized/beware-of-your-ignition-interlock-device-iid/ for examples of increased DUI penalties that occurred in 2013.

Now in 2014, the Washington State Legislature is considering tougher DUI consequences and punishment for DUI offenders.

In the latest news to filter out of Olympia, a proposal would make being convicted of four DUIs in seven years punishable by going to prison – lowering it from the current 5 convictions necessary for prison time.

Prison time is not the only change on the table. The State is considering more post-conviction supervision. Currently probation runs the gamut, from checking an offender on a database on a computer to see if the court’s conditions have been met to active one-on-one probation for those in need of more watching. Active probation costs money; lots of money. If the offender doesn’t have the money then the citizens of the State of Washington have to pay for increased probation.

Any major changes would ultimately come down to who gets to pay the costs of the changes. Major increases in jail / prison time – or Ignition Interlock Devices – or increased probation will cost someone more money. The question before the Washington State Legislature, is where will the money come from?  For more information on this unfolding topic, see:  http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022721585_duiupdatexml.html

If you would like to discuss a DUI Arrest or beat a DUI, please call me at 425-422-5818 or visit my website at washington-dui.com and fill out an online questionnaire. Mark. W. Garka

 

 

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2013 Holiday DUI Emphasis Patrols Are NOW In Effect In Snohomish County!

December 17th, 2013

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Don’t say you haven’t been warned. The DUI emphasis patrols, led by Target Zero officers, are now in effect this holiday season.  For the official press release see: http://edmondsbeacon.villagesoup.com/p/extra-holiday-dui-patrols-on-the-road-in-snohomish-county/1092135

Now that the holiday parties are in full swing, think about a plan to get home that does not involve driving while impaired.  Washington State has tough DUI penalties, so it is best not to put yourself in a position to get arrested. However, if you are arrested for a DUI this holiday season and you want to discuss your DUI consequences with a DUI Lawyer in Washington State, feel free to contact my office at 425.422.5818  to set up an initial in-office DUI consultation.  Mark W. Garka  www.washington-dui.com

 

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Happy 80th Repeal Day!

December 6th, 2013

 

 

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On December 5, 1933, the United State Congress officially repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution by enacting the Twenty-first Amendment thereby ending 14 years of Prohibition in the United States.

America was convinced that alcohol was evil and that drinking was destroying the American fabric and under the Eighteenth Amendment banned alcohol manufacturing and sales.

Well, as we know, alcohol sales have been reinstated for adults, and even Washington State has loosened its restrictive alcohol sales laws.  See my post:   Ready or Not, Washington State is Privatizing Alcohol Sales. http://washington-dui.com/wa-dui-blog/page/3/

This does not mean that we are an all out party state.  For example, the Liquor Control Board has denied extending drinking hours in bars. See my post:  http://washington-dui.com/wa-dui-blog/uncategorized/state-liquor-control-board-says-no-to-extended-drinking-hours/

Evidence has shown that in the Puget Sound we are responsible when it comes to drinking alcohol. As a matter of fact, we are seeing fewer King County WA DUIs.  See my recent post:  http://washington-dui.com/wa-dui-blog/uncategorized/fewer-dui-arrests-in-king-county/

Despite the encouraging changes, it really does seem,  in my humble opinion, that  in Washington State we are moving back towards prohibition.  We are seeing stricter rules governing Washington State DUIs. For example, at an arraignment, a Judge may order abstinence from alcohol during the pendency of the case even if the accused has a Breath Alcohol Level (BrAC) lower than the presumptive level of impairment of .08.

On the other end of the process, at sentencing, even if a State Approved chemical dependency evaluation agency has determined that you do not have an alcohol problem, some judges order the defendant to abstain from alcohol from 2 to 5 years!

Bad headlines of people being killed or injured due to a DUI means that special interest groups, the Washington State Legislature, and Judges, run scared and we lose our rights.  Drinking alcohol is a benefit for adults in this society.  We need to be careful and responsible, but we need to be aware that we are losing the right to drink in Washington State!

Celebrate the Repeal of the Twenty-first Amendment, but be aware that neo-prohibitionists are trying to limit our right to enjoy an adult beverage.

If you find yourself in need of an attorney who limits his practice to defending those accused of being impaired while driving, feel free to contact my office to sit down and discuss dui consequences and how we can help. Contact us at: 425.422.5818 or mark@washington-dui.com

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Holiday DUI Patrols in Effect This Holiday Season

November 28th, 2013

Called the “Arrive Alive on I-5″ campaign, highway patrols from Washington State to California are out to catch drivers drinking and driving this Thanksgiving weekend.  Be forewarned –  the Washington State Patrol is out looking for drinking drivers. While the legal limit is .08 in Washington State, they will arrest individuals who are below the legal limit if the officer thinks they are under the influence of alcohol.  Remember that in Washington State, having more than 5 nanograms of marijuana (THC) while driving under the influence of marijuana will also land you in jail and your car will be impounded.

If you are arrested during this holiday season and need to defend a DUI in WA or even beat a DUI, feel free to contact my office for a free initial in-office consultation. Call 425.422.58158 to set up an appointment as soon as you can.

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Are DUI Arrests Up or Down After Liquor Privatization?

November 2nd, 2013

Despite dire warnings that the sale of alcohol via grocery stores would increase alcohol related charges, the numbers suggest the opposite and the number of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) arrests has gone down.  It appears that personal responsibility, an increase in the use of DUI emphasis patrols, and the increase in the number of individuals required to install an Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) has reduced the number of DUI cases.

The numbers of Washington State DUI arrests has been trending down and the failure to use a court ordered IID has been trending up.  Oddly,  the number of drinking in public violations has gone up but we are only talking small numbers overall (19 cases in 2008 to 42 cases in 2012 in Washington State).

It seems that the fear of wider availability of alcohol sales has not caused the “end of the world” warnings of  increased minor’s drinking, DUI arrests, or DUI collisions that the opponents of Initiative 1183 warned about.

For more information see: http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/notes/alcohol-related-arrests-continue-decrease-after-liquor-privatization and the report on Q-13: http://q13fox.com/2013/10/29/dui-arrests-continue-to-drop-in-spite-of-liquor-privatization/#axzz2jREyAWUX

While the numbers of DUI arrests is trending down, the best way to avoid a DUI is not to drink any volume of alcohol and drive.  However, if you are in need of an experienced WA DUI attorney or would like to discuss the WA State DUI process, call Mark W. Garka, for a free initial consultation at (425) 422.5818.  www.washington-dui.com

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Repeat DUI Offenders – BEWARE!

September 29th, 2013

There is a new DUI law that takes effect this weekend.  If you have a prior DUI and you are arrested again for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs, beware!  Washington State is very tough on DUI offenders, especially if you have had a prior DUI.

A new law has taken effect and has new DUI penalties. If you are arrested for a second offense DUI or subsequent DUI, you WILL BE BOOKED INTO JAIL. You will stay in jail until a judge makes a determination to release you. Further, when you are released you will be ordered to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in your car within a few days. Also, you will be ordered to have an ankle bracelet put on (a.k.a. SCRAM) so the court can confirm that you are not drinking regardless if you are driving or not. For more information see: http://q13fox.com/2013/09/27/new-dui-law-in-effect-starting-at-midnight-tonight/#axzz2g9adSZoG

If you have been arrested for a DUI for the first time or a second or subsequent DUI, don’t hesitate to contact my office to discuss the consequences of your DUI. Call me at (425) 422-5818 or visit my website at www.washington-dui.com Mark W. Garka

 

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Fewer DUI Arrests In King County?

September 13th, 2013

There was a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign conducted statewide from August 16th  through September 2nd in Washington State.  http://www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober/

However, according to a recent post in the Bothell/Kenmore Reporter, there were fewer DUI arrest reports in August 2013 in King County when compared to the same time last August in King County. For the story see: http://www.bothell-reporter.com/news/223376481.html 

Why are there fewer King County WA DUI arrests compared to a year ago? It could be that the forced installation of Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) are stopping repeat offenders from drinking and driving.  There may also be increase awareness and drivers are getting the message about not drinking and driving.

If you find yourself in the position where you have a DUI in Washington State and in need of an experienced King County WA DUI attorney, call Mark W. Garka, for a free initial consultation at (425) 422.5818.  www.washington-dui.com

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Warning: Increased DUI Patrols Planned around Seattle Hempfest 2013

August 16th, 2013

According to the SF Gate Blog, there will be increased DUI patrols focusing on Seattle’s 2013 Hemp Fest. http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2013/08/13/washington-plans-marijuana-dui-patrols-for-hempfest/

The world’s largest pot gathering, Seattle Hempfest, begins August 16th in Seattle.

With the new law allowing adults the right to smoke marijuana, also comes with it the burden of not being impaired by TCH and driving. With the presumptive legal limit of 0.5 nanograms of THC in blood,  Washington State has set a very low limit for smoking or ingesting marijuana and then driving under the influence of marijuana. See prior blog post: http://washington-dui.com/wa-dui-blog/uncategorized/the-marijuana-dui-a-whole-new-world/ for more information.

So, have fun Hempfest weekend but if you have been arrested for a Marijuana DUI in Washington State, then you need a Marijuana DUI Attorney. If you have questions about the WA State Marijuana DUI process you can reach me at (425) 422-5818 or visit my website, www.washington-dui.com, to schedule a free in office consultation. Mark W. Garka

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Beware, It Is BUI Season!

July 31st, 2013

Seafair is upon us and Boaters on Lake Washington will see a resurgence of King County Marine Patrol looking for Impaired Boaters.  All agencies are participating in a Impaired Boating Emphasis Patrol on the water this Seafair weekend.

There are new Boating Under the Influence (BUI) laws and they look like this:

A BUI is no longer a simple misdemeanor, but a conviction will become a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and/or 364 days in jail.

Now Officers with probable cause can ask the Boat Operator to submit to a breathalyzer test. If the Operator refuses breath test, he or she will be issued a Class 1 Civil Infraction. Unlike a Driving Under the Influence (DUI), the maximum penalty for refusal to take a breathalyzer test will be $1,000; however RCW 3.62.090 (the public safety and education assessment) adds 105 percent to the penalty, so the total fine could be up to $2,050.

An Operator’s refusal cannot be used as evidence in a subsequent criminal trial (again, this is unlike a DUI).

Also, don’t think just because marijuana is legal, you can boat and smoke pot, because the change added marijuana references to the law consistent with Initiative 502, which made recreational use of marijuana, legal. The legal limit for Boating Under the Influence of marijuana is 5.0 nanograms just like Driving Under the Influence of marijuana.

Starting August 2nd,  expect to see more patrols on Lake Washington. For more info see: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/topic/boating-under-the-influence/

If you find yourself in trouble with a BUI, and you need an Attorney to help with your Defense or you have questions about the Washington State DUI process, contact the Law Office of Mark W. Garka at 425.422.5818, or mark@washington-dui.com

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Citizens for Judicial Excellence: Attempting to Balance the Power in the Courtroom

June 26th, 2013

In the Seattle Times there was an article, http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021250378_duiattorneysxml.html, concerning a relatively new concept in Judicial races.

CJE, or Citizens for Judicial Excellence, provides a way to vet candidates, to train judicial candidates, and funds candidates who are deemed worthy. What is worthy? A worthy judge is one who does not buy in to all of the Prosecutor’s demands and doesn’t pander to the media hype about Driving Under the Influence (DUI) news.

CJE is one of the only groups in the United State raising money to affect the outcome of District Courts. It is open to anyone with an interest in quality Judges including Washington State DUI lawyers, insurance agents, ignition interlock companies, bail bond companies, and even a couple of Prosecutors. The group tracks the judges performance and supports the best candidates come election time. The CJE had great success in elections in 2010 and they are now gearing up to make a difference in 2014.

Those accused of a DUI are afforded many Rights. However, it seems those Rights are disappearing before our eyes. Quality Judges recognize that they cannot just play into the State’s hand. They have to use their discretion to make the right and sometimes even hard calls. For far too long Judges have listened to the largest law firm in their County, the Prosecutor’s office. Now with the arrival of CJE, a new force has risen that Judges must listen to as well.

Mark W. Garka an officer in CJE, limits his practice to defending Washington State DUIs.  If you have been arrested for a DUI in Washington State and would like to discuss DUI penalties, please call Mark W. Garka in the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC and he would be happy to discuss his DUI defense strategies with you.  www.washington-dui.com, 425-422-5818.

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