It's Time for English: N.J. court reverses DUI case |


The gist of the case related in this article is that a guy was pulled over, was suspected of DUI, and was informed of the rule requiring him to take an alcohol breath test or he’d lose his license. The problem? He didn’t understand the rule in either English or Spanish, so he lost his license because he refused the test.

The court overturned the license suspension because the guy wasn’t informed in a language he could understand.

This is so wrong on so many levels.

First, this country has not bothered to take the time to establish English as its official language. Why not, I don’t know. All of our legislation takes place in English. The laws are published in English. English is the primary language spoken by the vast majority of the population. And yet we’re too lazy or sensitive to make it our official language. As Andrew Dice Clay once said…

Second, I do not understand the necessity to stoop to the lowest common denominator when arrest or restriction of freedoms (driving on public roads is not a right, you know) is involved. Why do we have to “Mirandize” a suspect? Why does the suspect of DUI have to be informed of “implied consent?” Yes, I understand there’s a difference between breaking the law and, you know, breaking the law, but if I screw up on my taxes, it’s my fault for not knowing the all the law, not the Congress’ fault, not President Obama’s fault—nobody’s fault but my own for not knowing it all. I don’t get informed of all the intricacies of whatever it is I screwed up—that’s my responsibility to know. If I’m out driving at 45mph in the left lane on the NJTP, it’s my responsibility to know that I’m breaking the law. I must also know that it is illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a murder in New Jersey.

Bottom line, it’s our job to know our laws. And yet if we can’t somehow communicate one or two pieces of the law which, if they were taught in public schools and immigration classes as being the most important bits of the law that everybody should know (They must be… they’re said during every arrest, right?), every police officer wouldn’t need to know every language spoken in Parsippany, NJ.

There are about 150 languages spoken in NJ. That presents a bit of a problem.

Finally, the ruling says that the suspect must be read the rule in a language that he understands. Hoo, boy! I can’t wait for the first application of the Google Translate defense (as it will be known) because Google doesn’t quite speak perfect Azerbaijani. It’s a no wonder why the New Jersey Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed a brief in support of the ruling. Yay, billable hours!

Again, the majority finds itself kowtowing to the few. And because we haven’t decided that all public business will be conducted in English or American Sign Language, it’s our own fault.

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