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

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

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.

The Marijuana DUI – A Whole New World

May 23rd, 2013

A Marijuana DUI is nothing new in Washington State however Marijuana DUIs are recently getting more press.

The Voters passed a Referendum legalizing the possession and or consumption of Pot / Marijuana and in an apparent deal with the Devil.  It was decided that if a Driver had a Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active form of Marijuana, level of 5 nanograms or more, the Driver is now presumptively guilty of DUI Marijuana.

Previously an individual was driving under the influence of Marijuana if the Officer could convince a Jury or Judge that he or she believed the Driver was affected by Marijuana. Back then, a Marijuana DUI was a guessing game. Unlike an Alcohol DUI where a driver was presumed guilty of DUI if he or she was an adult and was over the 0.08 legal limit .

Now that the presumptive level for Marijuana is 5 nanograms, a Driver is presumed guilty if he or she has a small amount of THC in his or her system.  The determination of THC in blood is obtained through a THC blood test.

If more than 5 nanograms of THC is found in the blood, then the Driver not only faces a Criminal DUI charge but also must endure the wrath of the Department of Licensing (DOL) and potentially lose the ability to drive for at least 90 days. This is a new wrinkle in the Marijuana DUI world.  Before, when we didn’t have a presumptive level for Marijuana, the Driver only faced a loss of license if convicted of a Marijuana DUI on the Criminal side of the law. Now with the new system in place, if the Driver is over 21 years of age, he or she faces both a Civil and Criminal loss of license if there is more than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood.   If the driver is a minor, then there is zero tolerance and any level of THC in the system can result in a loss of license.

Obviously, a loss of freedom and/or a loss of license is a big deal. 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


Beware Of Your Ignition Interlock Device (IID)!

April 7th, 2013

Washington State Drivers facing a Driver’s License suspension or revocation of their license due to a Washington State DUI or physical control arrest may be able to continue to drive with a special type of license: an Ignition Interlock License (IIL). An Ignition Interlock License will allow a driver to continue to drive if they meet the eligibility requirements.

If a judge has ordered an individual charged with a DUI to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in his or her car, it is imperative that the device is used properly in order to avoid suspension of driving privileges and any other additional penalty related to noncompliance with an Ignition Interlock requirement.

1. Mouthwash, breath spray, and cold medicine have the ability to interfere with an IID breath test results. This is especially true for products that contain at least 30 percent alcohol. To avoid getting a false read, rinse your mouth out with water and wait 15 minutes after using the product before blowing into the IID. Also, seek out alcohol-free mouthwashes and cold remedies as alternatives.
2. Non-alcoholic foods and beverages may be capable of creating false readings. Some ignition interlock devices are sensitive and can give false readings, preventing a driver from starting their vehicle. Some Ignition Interlock device users have reported false readings after consuming common foods and non-alcoholic beverages. Examples include: flavored coffee, a cinnamon bun, barbecue, spicy foods, protein bars, and sugarless gum. Some people report problems with their IID after eating a sandwich! It is possible that the yeast in the bread causes a false reading with the IID. To avoid a false reading, wait after consuming these items before using the IID.
3. Non-ingestible products containing alcohol may also interfere with an IID breath result. Other products resulting in false readings include hand sanitizer, windshield washer fluid, and leaking anti-freeze.
4. Be prepared to blow into the IID. Take a deep breath when blowing into an IID. It is best to avoid using the IID if you are out of breath, i.e. after exercise.
5. Be prepared to re-test while driving. Having a sober friend blow into the device so that you may start the vehicle will not work. IIDs may be programmed to make the driver take the test again while driving later.
6. Comply with scheduled maintenance, repairs, calibration, monitoring, inspection, or replacement of the device. Each driver must have the IID inspected by the manufacturer, vendor, service center or ignition interlock technician for correct calibration and evidence of tampering every 65 days or as often as required by court order.

More information regarding an Ignition Interlock Device may be found online at http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/ignitioninterlock.html and http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/iil.html

The bottom line – It is a privilege to drive in the State of Washington. If you drive with an IID – THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE CONSUMING before you drive. If you get sick – think twice about taking that nighttime cold medication. It contains ALCOHOL! Think about what you are eating as you drive. The best bet – don’t drink anything but WATER as you are driving down the road.

If you have been pulled over for a DUI in WA, then you need a Snohomish County WA DUI attorney. If you have questions about the WA State DUI process you can reach me at (425) 422-5818 or visit my website at www.washington-dui.com. Mark W. Garka

Ho, Ho, Ho, Hold On There! DUI Emphasis Patrols Are On The Road This Holiday Season!

December 3rd, 2012

The holidays are quickly approaching and inevitably Target Zero teams and DUI officers will be out making DUI arrests in Washington.  Is there a way of knowing ahead of time when and where they will be?  The website http://watikileaks.com/ sponsored by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission shows such details for scheduled special DUI patrols in the counties of King, Pierce, and Snohomish.

So plan ahead and be safe this holiday season!

If you find yourself in a position where you need legal advice for a DUI in Washington State, call Mark W. Garka at 425-422-5818. www.washington-dui.com

Tis the Season for Special DUI Patrols in King & Snohomish Counties.

November 28th, 2012

The holidays are quickly approaching and inevitably Target Zero teams and DUI officers will be out making DUI arrests in Washington.  According to recent articles found at http://mukilteobeacon.villagesoup.com/police/story/don-t-let-a-dui-ruin-your-holidays-drive-sober/924566 and http://www.redmond-reporter.com/community/179173331.html the counties of Snohomish and King will be participating in the Washington’s first-ever “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign.

The new DUI emphasis campaign will run from November 21, 2012 to January 1, 2013.  Snohomish County will be quite active in this new campaign with Arlington, Marysville, Tulalip Tribes, Brier, Edmonds, Everett, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace and Mukilteo, as well as the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol all participating in this holiday DUI crack down.  For more info, see: http://www.marysvilleglobe.com/news/180031361.html?mobile=true

So plan ahead and be safe this holiday season!

If you have indulged in a little holiday cheer and find yourself in a position where you need legal advice for a DUI in King or Snohomish Counties here in Washington State, call Mark W. Garka at 425-422-5818. www.washington-dui.com

New Standards for Marijuana DUIs?

November 3rd, 2012

A topic receiving a lot of attention in Washington State with the upcoming election is the legalization of marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 and older.

The focus was the DUI provision at a recent debate on I-502 at the University of Washington covered by the Seattle Times (http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2019398945_marijuana11m.html). The provision would establish a marijuana DUI per-se standard similar to the one for alcohol DUIs. For the first time in Washington State there would be a legal limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter (0.05) for active THC blood concentration (of course, the per-se limit for alcohol is .08 for adults). Those attending the debate voiced questions about the impact it would have on those using marijuana for medicinal purposes.

What could Washington drivers expect if I-502 is passed? Currently, there is no legal per-se limit for marijuana in place. Thus even a positive blood test may not sufficient for a DUI conviction. For more information, see the Seattle Times article (http://seattletimes.com/html/politics/2019541405_potdui28m.html). Currently, it is possible to have THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in the body and still be acquitted on a Marijuana DUI case. Establishing a limit for what qualifies as legal impairment for THC would make it easier for prosecutors to show impairment and win marijuana DUI cases.

Have you been arrested for a marijuana DUI in Washington State, and need an attorney’s help? Call Mark W. Garka at 425.422.5818 to set up a free in-office consultation.

Have you been arrested for a marijuana DUI in Washington State, and need need an attorney’s help? Call Mark W. Garka at 425.422.5818 to set up a free in-office consultation.

Washington State Department of Licensing just made getting a DUI even more expensive!

October 2nd, 2012

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) is set to raise the cost of an administrative hearing from $200 to $375. The date of this sharp new increase is October 1, 2012.

In Washington State, if you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Physical Control, or Minor Driving After Consuming Alcohol (Minor DUI), you are afforded an opportunity to save your driving privilege that normally occurs after your arrest. If your alcohol concentration is over the legal limit (.08 for an adult – or .02 for a minor) or you refuse a breath or blood test, you are subject to an administrative license suspension or revocation by the Department of Licensing under the Implied Consent Law (RCW 46.20.308).  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.20.308

A Driver who is arrested will have a hole punched in their Driver’s License. This punch makes an otherwise valid license a temporary license. A Driver who has a temporary license will be able to drive for 60 days after his/her arrest.

The DOL seems to be discouraging Drivers from challenging the loss of license by sharply increasing the cost of the hearing.  A recent informal survey of National DUI attorneys confirmed that Washington State has the highest administrative costs for a DOL hearing and at least one state grants these hearings for FREE.

Is it still worth having a hearing now that the DOL has nearly doubled the cost of the hearing? In my opinion the answer is “YES.”

The DOL Hearing affords an opportunity to challenge the State’s case against the Driver, and information found in the DOL process may afford leverage or a victory on the Criminal case.

Don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions about Washington State laws regarding the DOL process. You can call me at  (425) 422-5818 or visit my website at www.washington-dui.com Mark W. Garka

Drive Hammered Campaign Nails 1600+ in August DUI Sting

September 12th, 2012

Were you one of the many people arrested in the August DUI crackdown?  If you were, you were just one of many people arrested for DUI in August.  August  is considered the deadliest month on Washington roads and over the summer police agencies conducted the “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” campaign to clamp down on DUIs.  With funding from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, increased police patrols resulted in 1600 arrests between August 17th and September 3rd.

The Seattle Times reports that 364 of those DUI arrests occurred in King County alone: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/09/364-busted-during-king-county-dui-campaign/.

While in Snohomish County, the Arlington, Marysville and Tulalip Police Departments joined last year’s participants in an effort to slash the occurrence of Snohomish County DUI’s. For more information see: http://www.arlingtontimes.com/news/166669926.html .  According to one report, 155 people were arrested in Snohomish County alone, see, http://www.lakestevensjournal.com/county-state/article.exm/2012-09-10_results_of_the_drive_hammered__get_nailed_campaign_in_snohomish_county_announced_today

This campaign was organized and supported by the Washington state Target Zero teams. Find more information about them here: http://washington-dui.com/wa-dui-blog/2010/08/.

DUI punishment in the State of Washington can be severe, so if you have been arrested for DUI, talking to an experienced DUI attorney can help you in winning your DUI case in Washington State.

If you find yourself in a position where you need legal advice for a DUI in Washington State, call Mark W. Garka at 425-422-5818.  www.washington-dui.com.