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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27492
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I am late deafened and I speak clearly. I wear hearing aids

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I am late deafened and I speak clearly. I wear hearing aids and have learned ASL. I was given a DUI citation. I told the officer when he spoke to me that I couldn't hear. My husband told the responding officer that I was deaf and needed an ASL interpreter. He informed the responding officer that speaking loudly did not help me to understand. He asked that it be noted on the citation that I was deaf and needed an ASL interpreter.
The officer proceeded to speak to me and require tests of me with directions I did not understand. I was then taken to a station and the officer wrote a few notes to me but I was confused about the breath test. I did not have an interpreter during any of this.
The arraignment was the following day and I was told I would have an interpreter. There was not interpreter there because there was nothing written on the citation saying that I needed one. We left and came back the next day when an interpreter was provided.

In what ways were my rights denied? How will this affect my case?

Thank you. Yvonne
Hello Jacustomer,

Now that the proper notification is on the court papers, you will have an ASL interpreter at all of your court dates.

While the police do not have access to an ASL interpreter for their purposes, their failure to be able to provide clear instructions to you could actually work in your favor if you wished to fight the case. For example, if you refused the breath test because you did not understand the officer's instructions, that may provide you with a defense against the mandatory suspension. And if there were field tests that you couldn't perform well because of your confusion, you would be entitled to a pre-trial hearing to see whether your rights were violated. If a judge ruled after the hearing that the police handled this unreasonably under the facts and circumstances, (that's the Supreme Court test to see whether a Constitutional right was violated) the test results and any video of it would be suppressed and could not be used against you at trial.

DUIs are criminal charges. If you haven't get gotten yourself a lawyer to represent you here, you ought to do so and see that he's there on your next date. Otherwise, if you can't afford a lawyer, you will want to ask for a public defender. This may be a good case to fight, but you should not try to do it without counsel.

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