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Mitigating the Incidence & Severity of Injuries & Other Harms

Walter Elenils Portillo Funes v. Maryland

Overview

Walter Elenils Portillo Funes v. Maryland (Maryland Court of Appeals, June 30, 2020): The court held that police officers must reasonably convey the warnings and rights in the implied consent statute prior to administering a chemical breath test. Maryland law requires all drivers to submit to chemical testing when appropriately requested as a condition for the privilege of driving licensure, referred to as implied consent. This consent is withdrawn if the driver refuses the test, resulting in the loss of licensure. Under Maryland law, a police officer must provide advice of rights prior to administering a chemical test, which informs the driver of the potential criminal ramifications for failing the test and the administrative ramifications for refusing to take it. This allows drivers to make an informed decision regarding the withdrawal of their implied consent to testing. In this case Funes was a native Spanish speaker with limited English proficiency. The court held that the police officers failed to properly administer the advice of rights when they read him these rights in English. Police must use methods that reasonably convey the warning and rights of the implied consent statute. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – August 11, 2020.

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