Refusing a Breathalyzer in Massachusetts
If you get pulled over on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Massachusetts you will be asked to take a Breathalyzer test. You don’t have to take the test, but refusal comes with consequences.
If you take and fail the test – If you take the test and fail, that means your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was greater than 0.08 or you are under 21 and your BAC is 0.2. This will result in a 30-day license suspension.
If you refuse to take the test – If you were arrested for DUI and refuse to take the breath test, your license will be suspended immediately (regardless of the outcome of your criminal case). The suspension duration for refusal depends on whether you’re over 21 and whether you have prior DUI convictions.
Here’s how refusal works:
- Refusal – 1st offense: 180 days (unless under 21, see below)
- Refusal – 2nd offense: three years
- Refusal – 3rd offense: five years
- Refusal – 4th offense: Lifetime suspension
- Suspension for refusal starts immediately, before any court hearings. If your court case results in another suspension, it will run consecutive to the first.
If you’re under 21 – An individual who is not yet 21 years old may incur additional penalties. For example, there is a required 30-day suspension of your license if you are underage and fail the breath test. Your license may be suspended for an additional period of 180 days under what is known as the Junior Operator Law. If you enter a program for alcohol education, you may be able to avoid the additional 180-day suspension. Drivers under the age of 21 who refuse to take a Breathalyzer test on the 1st offense, will receive a mandatory three year license suspension, as well as the additional 180 days. Even if you are found not guilty, you may still receive the 180-day suspension. An alcohol education program can result in the 180-day suspension being waived. If you are found guilty of driving under the influence, you will receive a 210 suspension specific to the guilty verdict. However, this 210 day period does not begin until the other suspensions have ended.
Boston’s DUI Attorneys
Being stopped for allegedly driving under the influence is a serious charge and it helps to know your rights if stopped. You do have a right to refuse to take the test, but do so with knowledge of what that refusal means. Our attorneys are ready with over 40 years of experience in criminal defense. If you have questions about your rights and how we can help, contact Keegan Law today for a free consultation about your case.