Yes, in Massachusetts you can refuse to take a breath test, but refusing to take one does not mean you cannot be arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a drunk driving offense.
Penalties for Refusing to Take an Alcohol Breath Test in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Implied Consent Law states that by simply choosing to drive on a public way in Massachusetts you have agreed to submit to a chemical breath test if a police officer has reasonable cause to suspect you are under the influence of alcohol. As a result, an actual refusal to take a breath test after having impliedly consented to it by choosing to drive on Massachusetts’ roads carries with it sever license penalties. The enactment of Melanie’s Law has significantly increased the amount of time your license will be suspended for a breath test refusal.
If you don’t have a prior drunk driving offense on your record and you refuse to take a breath test from a police officer that has reasonable cause to suspect you are under the influence of alcohol then your license will automatically be suspended for 180 days. A refusal with one prior OUI offenses will result in a loss of license for 3 years and a refusal with two prior convictions will result in a 5 year suspension.
You will have 15 days from the date of the refusal to request an appeal from with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The issues that will be addressed at the hearing are:
- Were you arrested?
- Did the police officer have reasonable cause to believe that you were under the influence of alcohol? and
- Did you actually refuse to submit to the test. If the registry refuses your appeal then will petition the district court where you were charged?
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Were You Involved in an Accident while OUI?
We can help. For a free consultation contact a Boston area OUI/DWI lawyer with a track record of success you can count on.
The penalties and charges for OUI are different if you have been involved in an accident while operating a vehicle under the influence. You face much more severe consequences such as incarceration in state prison and a felony charge when you are involved in an accident and arrested for OUI. These charges are further enhanced should the accident result in injury or death to another party.
Our knowledgeable and experienced Boston Drunk Driving Attorneys at The Noonan Defense Firm are available to assist clients throughout all of Southeast Massachusetts. No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away. Call our Boston DUI Lawyers to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 584-6955 and you will have taken your first step to find out how best to confront this important matter. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.