Contact Keegan Law About Breath Test Refusals in Massachusetts

Breath Tests and OUI Arrests in Boston, MA

If you are pulled over and then arrested for operating under the influence (OUI) or driving under the influence (DUI), you will be asked to submit to a chemical test to determine the level of alcohol in your system. The response you give to this request may have a direct and immediate impact on your driver’s license. It may also influence any future criminal drunk driving charges.

In Massachusetts, a driver may face a 30-day to lifetime driver’s license suspension for refusing a breath test or blood test after a DUI arrest. The length of suspension will depend on the driver’s age and whether he or she has any prior DUI convictions on his or her record. A driver may also face license suspension for failing a breath or blood test, by taking such a test and showing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater (or .02% or greater if the driver is under the age of 21). The license suspension penalties are more severe, however, for a breath test refusal than for a failure.

Understanding what is at stake when you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test following an OUI or DUI arrest can help you make an informed choice. If you have additional questions about this important subject, you can always call a Boston DUI attorney at Keegan Law. As criminal defense attorneys with experience as former police officers and prosecutors, we can provide insight based on a multi-faceted understanding of criminal law and court proceedings.

Penalties for Refusing a Breath or Blood Test

If you are accused of refusing a breath or blood test, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has the authority to initiate driver’s license suspension proceedings. Unless you take action to challenge this suspension, your license will be automatically suspended for the following terms.

If you are over the age of 21:

  • 180 days for a first OUI
  • 3 years for a second OUI
  • 5 years for a third OUI
  • Lifetime suspension for a fourth or subsequent OUI

If you are under 21:

  • 3 years for a first or second OUI
  • 5 years for a third OUI
  • Lifetime suspension for a fourth or subsequent OUI

Regardless of your age:

  • 10 years if you have a prior OUI causing serious bodily injury conviction
  • Lifetime suspension if you have a prior vehicular homicide conviction

If you are over the age of 21 and take a breath test and fail, you may face a 30-day suspension of your license. If you are 18 to 21 and fail a breath test, you may face an additional 180-day suspension plus mandatory participation in a Youth Alcohol Program (YAP). If you are under 18 and fail a breath test, you may face an additional one-year suspension and mandatory YAP participation.

Ask a Boston DUI Lawyer

Although you may have been accused of refusing a breath test and may be at risk of having your license suspended as a result, you have the right to challenge this suspension. You need to request a RMV hearing within 15 days of your alleged refusal. This hearing will be conducted at the Boston RMV branch office, and you will have the opportunity to challenge your license suspension based off one of the following arguments:

  • You were unlawfully or unreasonably arrested;
  • You were not placed under arrest; and/or
  • You did not refuse the breath test.

If you are able to effectively prove one of the above, you may be able to keep your license.

Ready to find out more about your rights as they relate to a DUI or OUI arrest in Massachusetts? Contact a Boston DUI lawyer at our firm for a confidential case review. It is never too early to begin building a defense against drunk driving charges, to protect your license, your freedom and your future.