Michigan Judge Suspends Defendant’s Driver’s License After He Brings English Interpreter to Court

Recently, an Oceana County circuit court judge suspended a defendant’s driver’s license after the defendant brought an English interpreter to court in a case involving cocaine possession. Juan Leonel Estrada, a 44-year-old Hart resident, brought the interpreter to court, a move Judge Terrence R. Thomas felt wasted the court’s resources. Thomas said that Estrada was “playing a game” with him, and that he did not feel Estrada needed an interpreter.

Estrada was ready to plead guilty to charges of cocaine possession in exchange for a maximum of 30 days in jail, however the judge rejected the defendant’s plea because he believed the defendant had misused the process of the court and its resources. He set the case for trial, and told the defendant that he would be the one paying for a translator at trial. The judge said that between now and the trial date, Estrada might learn English. The judge believed that Estrada could speak English fairly fluently, and asked him how he got a Michigan driver’s license if he couldn’t speak English. He suspended Estrada’s driver’s license, saying that it would remain suspended until the defendant could understand English and be safe on the road.

Estrada’s lawyer said that while his client is fairly fluent in English, he wanted an interpreter because he did not understand legal language and was nervous. He went on to say that the legal vocabulary is different from the English vocabulary, to which the judge replied, “It is for everybody.”

While this is certainly outside of the “norm” in regards to why individuals get their driver’s licenses suspended, Estrada will no doubt face extreme hardship until he does have his privilege to drive restored.

In most cases, people lose their privilege to drive because of DUI, drug offenses, reckless driving, or multiple traffic infractions. Depending on whether an individual has been convicted of a first DUI offense or is a repeat offender, his or her driver’s license may be suspended for a specific period, or revoked for many years, even life.

Living life without the privilege to drive is almost impossible, as those whose licenses have been suspended or revoked know all too well. We take driving for granted, never giving it a second thought until we can no longer jump in the car and go. If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked for any reason, speak with an experienced Michigan driver’s license reinstatement attorney who is highly successful in having clients’ driving privileges restored.

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