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07-03-09, 04:26 PM #1
Police should translate DWI instructions into Spanish
Police should translate DWI instructions into Spanish, N.J. court recommends
A New Jersey court ruling in a drunken driving case could change how police in the state treat suspects who don't speak English.
A state appeals court this week upheld the conviction of a Hispanic man who declined to take a breath test after a traffic accident because he didn't understand instructions that a police officer read him in English.
But the court also recommended that state authorities consider translating the instructions into Spanish and other widely spoken languages, or provide a recording that officers can play for those who don't understand English.
The court upheld a ruling suspending the license of German Marquez for seven months for refusing to submit to the test. The three-judge panel said to rule otherwise would pave the way for anyone stopped on suspicion of drunken driving to refuse the test by claiming they didn't understand English.
Court documents show that Marquez, who was arrested after a September 2007 traffic accident in Plainfield, N.J., was read an 11 paragraph statement about the breath test, to which he replied 'No entiendo' -- 'I don't understand' -- in Spanish.
The standard statement is read by police to anyone stopped on suspicion of drunken driving -- informing them that there are penalties for refusing the test.
Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for New Jersey's Attorney General, said the idea of whether to translate the documents into Spanish is being considered, but agrees with the court that there is no statutory or constitutional requirement to do so.
"The court recognized that there are considerable practical issues in providing a translation, given the multitude of languages spoken in New Jersey and the time pressures involved in obtaining breath evidence," Aseltine said.
The court argued that Marquez was made aware of the rules when he took the driver's license exam in Spanish, and that the driving manual, also in Spanish, makes it clear that anyone who agrees to be licensed to drive in New Jersey is also giving advanced consent to a breath test.
Janie Loveless, a spokeswoman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said many states offer the so-called 'implied consent warnings' in Spanish and other languages. She said a generic translation of it is also available to law enforcement officers over the internet.
"Many states have it, we'd be surprised that New Jersey doesn't have it," Loveless said. "It's not something that's rocket science; you want to make sure that people understand what's happening to them if they're pulled over."
Marquez' lawyer, Michael Blacker, says he plans to appeal the ruling to New Jersey's Supreme Court. Blacker says his client would not have declined the test if he had understood what the police were asking of him. He wants the state to discontinue the English-only practice.
"If they read it to him in Spanish, he would have understood his rights," Blacker said. "We're not suggesting that he had the right to refuse the test, we are suggesting he had the right to know that night -- not at the time when he took his driver's license test -- that he had the right not to refuse."
The court disagreed with that argument, finding; "The right to due process does not automatically carry with it a right to have government documents translated into one's native language."
07-03-09, 04:32 PM #2
I guess we will have to translate all road signs into "Spanish and other widely spoken languages" too.
Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:
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07-03-09, 04:48 PM #3
Sure let the perps hide behind their language barrier, god forbid they should learn to speak English, THE NOT Official language of the USA. I have no problem with anyone speaking their native language (in the privacy of you home, with your family and friends), but I also think if you are going to live in this country you should learn OUR language. I believe it should be a mandated requirement to live here and to become a citizen. (Could be a great way to weed out illegals too or maybe make them learn english)
07-04-09, 03:25 AM #4
In MN they don't have to understand it implied consent.
You need to explain it as best you can, and answer their questions. But if they don't understand, they don't understand, too bad.No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
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07-04-09, 06:52 AM #5
07-04-09, 11:05 AM #6
When my wife and I were dating, she had a collision (thanks, pgg) with an undocumented alien. Even though the collision was deemed her fault, he did not have a Drivers License. He shouldn't have been driving on the roads to begin with. Supposedly he was "borrowing" his "sisters" car. The "sister's" insurance company had the gall to try to subpoena my wife into court to pay for property damage. My wife, at the time, was covered under her parents insurance policy. They told her that if this ever came to court that they would tell the other parties insurance company to go pound sand as the driver was in the country illegally.
The amount of languages that the CA DMV written test is translated into is a joke.
As for DWI / DUI FST's being translated, I think we are doing that already. Again, a CA LEO could verify this to be correct or not. I wouldn't be surprised it the least if it were true. Many CA LEO's are bilingual as it is.
Nevertheless this translation stuff is utter BS.
FAT CHANCE of that ever happening in the state of CA.
I vanpool with a bunch of Sikhs (India) to my job. I may have to endure listening to them speak Hindi but at least they can read, write and understand the English language. It's a job requirement.
Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.
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In memory of Sgt. Howard K. Stevenson 1965 - 2005. Ceres Police Dept.
In memory of Robert N. Panos 1955 - 2008 Ceres Police Dept.
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