Issues with Seattle Police In Car Videos

April 29th, 2014

One of the most often asked questions I get as a DUI Defense Attorney is, “My arrest was on video, right?”  

The answer usually is “no”.  Most law enforcement agencies, surprisingly, don’t have video recording equipment in their patrol cars.

Why? Expense is an often cited reason. It costs money to put video/audio recorders in patrol cars. I have watched videos that don’t help the officers and sometimes they are removed for an unknown reason. For example, I saw an experienced Washington State Patrol Trooper testify that he advised a suspect DUI Driver that the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) were voluntary.  However, watching the video in Court, that is NOT what transpired. The Trooper told the suspect to exit the vehicle and then the Trooper said, “We are going to do some tests…”  It was not long after this episode that the Trooper no longer had a video recorder in his patrol car.

Sometimes for whatever reason, the recording capabilities malfunction. Seattle is one of the few agencies that has video recording capabilities.  For example, recently the City of Seattle Prosecutors revealed that there were glitches with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) in-car videos.  Apparently, according to a source, when the Seattle Police Department switched to a new high-definition resolution system, there was possibly a glitch that caused some frames to drop from the videos.

Did the police officer make any of these mistakes when stopping you?

If a video is missing or has glitches, it may affect the City’s and or State’s case.  Also, some issues may result in suppression of evidence, or even dismissals of cases.

For more information, check out the following link:

Have you been recently arrested for a DUI in Washington State or Seattle and want the best Washington State DUI attorney? If so, contact the Law Office of Mark W. Garka for an in-office consultation regarding your case. Call 425.422.5818 to set up your consultation.

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Can I Drive My Car After I Have Smoked Marijuana? There Is No Easy Answer…

April 20th, 2014

The New DUI Marijuana Law

Washington State residents have a lot to learn about the new DUI Marijuana law and Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana.

One group, Medical-Marijuana patients, in Washington State fear with the passage of Initiative 502 (DUI provision with a set THC legal limit of 5 nanograms) may mean the end of their legal driving abilities.  Also, remember, if you are under the age of 21 then you cannot have any THC in your system.

In a Seattle Times article, Tim Adams, a medical marijuana patient, had the following to say, “The DUI provisions mean someone would have to wait for four to five weeks after smoking marijuana to be sure they would pass the [THC] blood test.”  Adams further stated that due to how the body releases toxins, patients are concerned that although the effects are not felt, they would still be driving under the influence of marijuana with a THC level exceeding the legal limit.

This new Marijuana law may cause many problems for patients that smoke weed for medicinal reasons and for individuals that smoke weed for recreational reasons.

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 to discuss your rights and the WA DUI process.

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Sobriety 24-7 Program for Repeat Offenders – Put on hold

April 6th, 2014

Washington State has been experiencing many drastic new changes in DUI laws and DUI penalties.

In Washington State, we have some of the toughest Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requirements in the nation. We also have mandatory jail time and fines if convicted of a DUI and everyone convicted of a DUI has to get an alcohol/drug assessment.

During the last Legislative session, a program was enacted which would require repeat offenders and even a second offense DUI offender, to be booked into jail.  The DUI repeat offender cannot bail out of jail until they see a judge.  Once they see a judge, the DUI repeat offender would be on a monitoring program until their case is finished!

The repeat offender (called a “Participant”)  would be required to prove that they have not been drinking by going to a specific location to provide a sample of their breath into a Portable Breath Test device (PBT), 7 days a week.

Counties have been reconsidering their participation in this program because of potential Constitutional concerns (as if violating the Constitution has ever stopped bad laws), and, probably more importantly, because of cost concerns.  Counties participating in the program would be required to hire additional employees to watch the “Participants”.  Chelan County backed out of the program because as one official said, “It just seemed to me like the county was taking something on that maybe it couldn’t afford”.

For more information see: and

Washington State is getting tougher on DUI arrests and even drivers alleged to have committed a DUI.   Perhaps common sense is winning out here.  If you have been accused of DUI and are facing Washington State’s tough DUI laws and would like to discuss the Washington State DUI process, don’t wait to call an attorney. Contact my office at 425.422.5818 to set up an DUI initial in-office consultation.

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DUI Marijuana – Not a Dangerous Threat?

March 28th, 2014

A Marijuana DUI is Complicated: Learn How it Differs from an Alcohol DUI

With the advent of legal marijuana for adults in the State of Washington, I have often been asked: “Are you seeing a rise in Pot DUIs?” The answer is “NO”.  While I have many times throughout my legal career defended drivers accused of driving under the influence of marijuana/DUI /drug, I can honestly say that I have not seen an upsurge of marijuana/DUI /drug cases.

The question is “why?” Could it be that Washington State has been slow in the implementation of State run marijuana dispensaries? Could it be that marijuana users just know not to smoke and drive?

Perhaps, according to some, we may not have as much to “fear” from stoned drivers as we do with drunk drivers. In an article in the New York Times, there is some evidence that driving with THC (the active component in marijuana) in the system does not statistically increase the risk of a crash. Compare this with alcohol studies which suggest that there is a 20% increase of a crash if a driver has 0.08% blood alcohol level. A bigger danger, according to some, is the combined levels of alcohol and THC. For more information, see:

Washington allows adults 5 nanograms of THC in blood and has zero tolerance for THC in minors.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of pot or DUI/marijuana and need to talk to an experienced attorney about your DUI, feel free to contact my office for a free in-office consultation. You can set an appointment by calling: 425.422.5818.  Mark W. Garka

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Luck of the Irish?

March 17th, 2014

Don’t let your luck run out today! Washington State Patrol (WSP) in Snohomish and King Counties are increasing their presence for St. Patrick’s Day. See:  The WSP claims that St. Patrick’s Day brings an increase in DUI arrests.  They will be concentrating on I-5 corridor looking for post St. Patrick’s Day partiers.

In a press release from Trooper Chris Webb, he claims that the WSP will be targeting dangerous drivers on St. Patrick’s Day. See:

They will also be utilizing other resources such as their Target Zero Team. See previous post:

Be careful today, of all days, on what is usually considered a drinking holiday!

If you find yourself in need of a DUI attorney or need to beat a DUI, please don’t hesitate to call me at 425-422-5818. Visit my website, for information on DUI arrests, DUI facts, and DUI consequences. Mark W. Garka

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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: and also: 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:

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 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:

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


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Happy 80th Repeal Day!

December 6th, 2013




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.

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:

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:

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

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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: and the report on Q-13:

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.

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