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OWI — Implied Consent — Non-English Speaking Driver

State v. Ibrahim Begicevic, 2004 WI App 57
For Begicevic: Donna J. Kuchler

Issue: Whether reading the “Informing the Accused” form in English to a non-English speaking driver was an unreasonable way of conveying required implied consent warnings.


¶21. Kennedy did not attempt to obtain an interpreter. When Kennedy read the Informing the Accused in English, Gasse did not translate the form verbatim nor did he make an effort to explain the rights in the form in German to Begicevic. In Piddington, the trooper used speech-read, gestures and notes to communicate with Piddington. Additionally, he was assisted by a police officer who knew ASL and Piddington was given the opportunity to read the implied consent warnings and initial that he understood each paragraph. Kennedy’s attempts to reasonably communicate with Begicevic fall woefully short of the standard set by the trooper in Piddington.4

¶23. … We are not persuaded that the exigency of blood alcohol dissipation excuses the officer’s failure to attempt to locate an interpreter. The breath test was administered within one hour of Begicevic’s arrest; the officer still had two hours in which an effort could have been made to locate an interpreter….

¶24. The bulk of the State’s argument addresses whether Kennedy could reasonably believe that Begicevic had a sufficient understanding of English to comprehend the implied consent warnings. The argument ignoresPiddington‘s admonition, “[w]hether [the apprehended driver] understood the warnings is irrelevant.” Piddington, 241 Wis. 2d 754, ¶32 n.19.

¶26. Begicevic seeks suppression of the breath alcohol test results as a result of the officer’s failure to reasonably convey the implied consent warnings to him. “Suppression of evidence is `only required when evidence has been obtained in violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights, or if a statute specifically provides for the suppression remedy.'” State v. Keith, 2003 WI App 47, ¶8, 260 Wis. 2d 592, 659 N.W.2d 403 (citation omitted).Piddington clarifies that Begicevic is not entitled to the remedy he seeks. Piddington, 241 Wis. 2d 754, ¶34.


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