In State v Marquez, the NJ Supreme Court held that an individual arrested for DWI/DUI has the right to be informed of the consequences of refusing to consent (to submit) to an Alcotest (Breathalyzer) in the language that they speak. In this case, the defendant was arrested for DWI in New Jersey. It was clear that he did not speak English. When the Police brought him to the police station, the read to him, in English, what is commonly referred to as the Standard Statement. This eleven paragraph form informs the individual arrested for DWI what will happen should he/she refuse to blow into the machine. It was clear that Marquez did not understand, so the officers demonstrated what he was supposed to do (pantomime blowing into the Alcotest).
Even those who speak English have a tough time understanding this form. Most don’t realize that a first conviction for refusal means no less than a seven month loss of license.
Prior to this decision, courts examining this issue had held that it was not necessary for the Standard Form to be read in the suspect’s language before charging the individual with refusal. The reasoning behind this being that, under this State’s implied consent laws (NJSA 39:4-50.2) a person who applies for and receives a NJ driver’s license has, in essence, already agreed that he/she has an obligation to submit to a chemical test if arrested for DWI. The only requirement is that police read the standard form, in English, to the suspect. One could think of it like a contract you sign with the State when you get your license. Nonetheless, prior to being charged with refusal, the police must inform you of the consequences of doing so.