License-Related Consequences of a Boston OUI Arrest

If you are arrested for operating under the influence (OUI) in Boston, you should understand your rights and what is expected of you in terms of taking a breath test. Upon your arrest, you will be asked to consent to a Breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This test is used to determine whether your BAC is above the legal limit to operate a vehicle in Massachusetts: .08% or greater if you are 21 years or older; and .02% if you are under 21.

When you are asked to consent to a breath test, you need to understand that your refusal may result in the suspension of your driver’s license. As a driver’s license holder in Massachusetts, you are considered to have given “implied consent” to chemical testing if you are lawfully arrested for OUI. As such, refusing a breath test may have consequences, separate from any criminal proceedings and penalties.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has the authority to suspend or revoke your driver’s license if you fail or refuse a chemical test to determine the level of alcohol in your blood after an OUI arrest. These penalties are far greater for a refusal than a failure. If you consent to and fail a breath test after an OUI arrest, you may face a 30-day license suspension if you are 21 or older. If you are 18 to 21, you may face an additional 180-day suspension plus mandatory participation in a Youth Alcohol Program (YAP). If you are under 18, you may face an additional 1-year suspension and YAP.

Refusing a breath test may have the following consequences if you are 21 or older:

  • 180-day license suspension with no prior OUIs
  • 3-year suspension with 1 prior OUI
  • 5-year suspension with 2 prior OUIs
  • Lifetime suspension with 3+ prior OUIs

The following penalties may apply if you are under the age of 21:

  • 3-year license suspension with no or 1 prior OUI
  • 5-year suspension with 2 prior OUIs
  • Lifetime suspension with 3+ OUIs

Regardless of your age, you may face the following penalties:

  • 10-year license suspension with a prior OUI serious bodily injury
  • Lifetime suspension with prior vehicular homicide

Challenging License Suspension After a Breath Test Refusal

Even if you were arrested and have been accused of refusing a Breathalyzer test, you have the right to challenge the suspension of your license. You must contact the RMV and schedule a Registry hearing within 15 days of your alleged refusal. At this hearing, you can challenge your license suspension based off one or more of the following arguments:

  • Your arrest was unreasonable or unlawful;
  • You were not actually placed under arrest; and/or
  • You did not refuse the breath test.

If you are able to effectively prove any of the above, your license will not be suspended. A positive outcome can actually help your criminal case as well, as your attorney will have investigated the circumstances surrounding your arrest and breath test to build a strategy to challenge your license suspension. This can serve as a foundation for a strong defense in criminal court, should it come to that.

Ready to find out how you can protect your license, your freedom and your future in the face of an OUI arrest? Call a Boston OUI lawyer at Keegan Law. As former police officers and prosecutors, were are uniquely positioned to provide highly effective defense counsel in the face of even the most serious and complex drunk driving charges.