A post by Pat
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled drunken drivers who can’t speak English have to be informed about a breathalyzer test in a language they can understand otherwise their rights are being violated.
Three years ago, German Marquez rear-ended a car. He was arrested for drunk driving and for refusing to take a breathalyzer test. Police are required to read a warning to suspected DWI drivers about the consequences of refusing the test. The police did read the 11-paragraph warning to Mr. Marquez in English, but he doesn’t understand English. Not fair says the NJ Supreme Court
“In essence, reading the standard statement to motorists in a language they do not speak is akin to not reading the statement at all,”wrote Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in the court’s 4-3 ruling.
According to Census Bureau statistics 25% of NJ residents speak a language other than English at home. There are over 150 languages spoken by residents of the state. Heck, some would say even English is unintelligible when spoken by New Jerseyans. (I’m from NJ, trust me, I know.) Do the police have to go through all 150 languages just in case? They are dealing with a drunk after all who might not register comprehension even if they hit the right one.
I always thought ignorance of the law was no excuse. This is some more bleeding heart grandstanding. It is stupid in every language and another good reason why English should be established as the official language of the country.
p.s. Marquez is currently serving a prison sentence for an unrelated drug conviction.