Language Barriers

NJ Defense Lawyer If You Refused the Breath Test

While an individual is not relieved of his or her obligation to submit to a breath test just because they do not speak English, they are entitled to be read the Standard Consent Form in a language they understand. Accordingly, if an individual does not understand English and is limited to understanding Spanish, Russian or some other foreign language, the police officer must read the consent in the foreign language. Absent the motorist understanding the nature of the breath test (a.k.a. breathalyzer) as outlined in the consent, he or she cannot be convicted of refusal in accordance with N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2. If you do not speak English and have been issued a summons for refusing to submit a breath sample, lawyers at our firm can help you. The defense attorneys on staff at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are some of the most skilled in the state when it comes to defending driving while intoxicated and refusal offenses. Initial consultations are without charge so do not hesitate to give us a call at 877-450-8301.

The key case on this subject is State v. Marquez. In Marquez, the defendant was unable to understand English as he only spoke Spanish. When requested to submit to a breath test, the defendant refused and claimed that he did not understand the standard consent instruction. In holding in favor of the defendant and overturning the refusal conviction, the Supreme Court ruled that the consent must be read in a language that the accused understands. The police must therefore read the consent in a language that can be comprehended by an individual who does not speak English whether his native language is Spanish, German, Russian, etc.

If you did not understand your rights when you were requested to take a breath test because you do not understand English, give us a call for a consultation with one of our attorneys. We can be reached 24/7 at 877-450-8301.