Breath & Blood Tests
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you will be charged with operating under the influence if your BAC is .08 percent or greater. To test a driver's BAC, the arresting officer will ask you to consent to a blood or breath test. It is up to the officer's discretion which test he asks you to perform. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, and BAC can be measured by having blood drawn and tested in a professional laboratory. If you consent to a breath test, the officer will have you breathe into a device such as a breathalyzer, which is a portable machine that measures the concentration of alcohol in your breath. You will be charged with an OUI if either test shows a BAC of .08 or greater if you are over the age of 21 or .02 or greater if you are under the age of 21.
Need counsel after an arrest? Contact (413) 258-7371 to speak with a Massachusetts OUI attorney. Currently, our firm is involved in a class action suit involving the breath test. We are not afraid to challenge these matters.
Melanie's Law and Chemical Test Refusal
The officer cannot test your BAC without your consent. You will be penalized for refusing to take a chemical test and your license will immediately be taken, but it will not count as an OUI offense on your record. The implementation of Melanie's Law in 2005 greatly enhanced the penalties for refusing a chemical test, eliminated the allowance of a temporary, 15-day license for the driver, and mandates the driver's vehicle be impounded for twelve hours. A driver who refuses to take a chemical test will receive the following suspension, depending on which category he or she belongs to:
Drivers Over Age 21
- No Prior OUI Offenses: Suspension of 180 days
- One Prior OUI Offense: Suspension of 3 years
- Two Prior OUI Offenses: Suspension of 5 years
- Three or More Prior OUI Offenses: Lifetime suspension
Drivers Age 18 to 21
- No Prior OUI Offenses: 3 years + 180 days
- One Prior OUI Offense: 3 years + 180 days
- Two Prior OUI Offenses: 5 years + 180 days
- Three or More Prior OUI Offenses: Lifetime suspension
Drivers Under Age 18
- No Prior OUI Offenses: 3 years + 1 year
- One Prior Offense: 3 years + 1 year
- Two Prior Offenses: 5 years + 1 year
- Three or More Prior Offenses: Lifetime suspension
The additional 180 days of license suspension are intended to get underage drivers to enter an alcohol education program. Underage drivers may be able to have the additional 180 days of suspension waived or have the 1 year of suspension reduced to 180 days if it is their first offense and they complete an approved alcohol education program. If the driver fights the charges and wins, he or she will still be required to complete an alcohol education program before their license can be reinstated.
What Can I expect at My RMV Hearing?
A hearing at the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) may be necessary for a number of reasons, but if you need to schedule a hearing to address a Chemical Test Refusal or because you want to apply for a hardship license or to get your license reinstated after being convicted of an OUI, you should enlist the representation of a Massachusetts OUI lawyer.
If you refused to take _______ after being stopped on suspicion of operating under the influence, you must challenge the suspension of your license within 15 days of your Chemical Test Refusal (CTR).
CTR Hearings are only conducted at the Boston branch of the RMV, and you can only challenge your suspension based on three issues:
- The law enforcement officer did not have sufficient grounds for your OUI arrest.
- you were not under arrest when you refused the test
- You did not refuse the breathalyzer test
Your suspension will only be rescinded if you can effectively prove one of these situations occurred during the incident. to determine whether or not your license can be reinstated after suspension for an OUI conviction or if you will be granted a hardship license, the RMV will consider many things, including your driving record and any prior offenses.
Speak with an Experienced Massachusetts OUI Attorney
If you refused a chemical test, you can challenge your suspension before the RMV within 15 days if you can effectively prove before the law that your license should not have been suspended. Failure to pass a field sobriety or chemical test does not mean you will automatically be convicted. In order to fight against either charge, you will need the representation of a skilled and knowledgeable Massachusetts OUI lawyer.Your case may hinge on technicalities and you could be offered only limited options at your hearing. An effective attorney who understands the complexities of the law can ensure that your rights are protected and that you are given the best possible alternatives. We have defended clients against OUI and OUI-related clients for decades, and we may be able to help you.
When you are charged with operating under the influence or if your license was suspended for refusing a chemical test, your freedoms could be severely limited. We have guided countless clients through the often complicated legal process of restoring licenses and rescinding license suspensions after chemical test refusals. We examine clients' cases to determine how we can best fight their violations and protect their rights. When facing such serious penalties, you need a lawyer who will aggressively defend you in court and before the RMV; you need The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C.
If you are facing OUI charges because of a failed chemical test, or if you refused a chemical test and your license was suspended, contact a DUI attorney in Massachusetts from our firm as soon as possible.