SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court is considering whether law enforcement officers are obligated to make sure that drunken driving suspects, even if they don’t speak English, understand the consequences of refusing to take a breath or blood test.
Under Oregon law, getting a driver’s license is implied consent to such tests. Refusal can lead to a fine and immediate loss of the license. The refusal can be evidence in a drunken driving trial.
In an Eastern Oregon case, the Salem Statesman Journal reports (http://stjr.nl/sNGRhv ), a public defender says a Spanish speaker didn’t understand a warning in English about the consequences of refusal, so the refusal shouldn’t have been evidence.
The state’s lawyer argues that requiring officers to figure out whether a drunken driving suspect actually understands the warning would complicate arrests.