Charged with Refusal but Don’t Speak English

In a remarkable decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court held in State v Marquez, that a person arrested for suspected DWI/DUI in NJ must be read the standard statement (the eleven paragraph form which advises the DWI suspect of the penalties for failing to submit to a chemical breath test, Alcotest, Breathalyzer) in the language which the individual speaks before being charged with refusal.

This is a complete departure from lower court’s interpretation of the implied consent laws under NJSA 39:4-50.2. Prior to this decision, under the theory of implied consent, whether a DWI suspect understood English was not a consideration. Applying for and receiving a driver’s license was like signing a contract with the state, one of the terms being that you have already given you consent to chemical breath test. Failure to do so at the time of reckoning was a fatal mistake leading to a seven month loss of license (for a first offense).

Now, the duty is on the State to provide a translation of the standard statement in 9 different languages, and make arrangements to provide translations for those languages that are not covered by the nine.

For the full text of the case please see State v Marquez. Additionally, this is the second case-law decision in as many months that has come down on the side of DWI defendants and DWI defense attorneys. If you have been arrested for DWI and charged with refusal, please call for a free consultation. I can tell you if your case falls within the facts of this recent DWI case-law.


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