caught drunk driving

Traditionally, when an officer pulls a driver over due to suspected impairment, they ask the driver whether or not they want to be subject to certain tests. It might seem like if an officer pulls you over on a suspected OUI and asks you to take a breathalyzer, that you have the right to refuse. And while you technically do have the right to refuse, you may still face consequences for refusing. Essentially, if you aren’t confident your blood alcohol results are significantly below the legal limit, whether or not to subject yourself to a breathalyzer test becomes a catch-22. If you take it and fail, you’re providing the state with evidence upon which to convict you. If you refuse to take it, you may still face significant penalties.

The penalties you may face for refusing a breathalyzer test are due to Massachusetts’ implied consent laws. Every state in the United States has some form of implied consent laws, which essentially states that when you apply for a driver’s license in any state, you consent to testing if the officer believes you may have been driving under the influence. Therefore, refusing to take such tests can lead to unreasonably harsh consequences.

Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

The penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test become harsher depending on the number of prior OUI convictions you may have. Even OUI cases that were continued without a finding or given a 24D or Cahill disposition will be counted when determining the penalty.

  • No Prior OUI Offenses: a license suspension of 180 days.
  • One Prior OUI Offense: a license suspension of three years.
  • Two Prior OUI Offenses: a license suspension of five years.
  • Third or Subsequent Prior OUI Offenses: a lifetime license suspension.

How to Get Your License Reinstated After a Breathalyzer Refusal

There are two main ways to get a license reinstated after it has been suspended due to a driver’s refusal to take a breathalyzer test. Firstly, you may appeal the suspension to the RMV located in Boston, Massachusetts within 15 days of the arrest. Secondly, you may appeal the suspension to the presiding district court judge. If you are found not guilty of the OUI charge, typically the judge will reinstate your license. Otherwise, you may submit a motion to reinstate your license. If you can show that there was no probable cause for the stop, you were never fully arrested, or you consented to the test but it was never performed, the motion will likely be granted. There is also an option to seek a hardship license rather than fighting the license suspension.

Massachusetts OUI Defense Attorney

Massachusetts takes OUI charges very seriously, and, if convicted, the impact of this offense can be lifelong. It may affect your ability to drive, cause your insurance rates to skyrocket, follow you on any background check for a lifetime, and impact your career and education. If you or a loved one are facing an OUI charge in Massachusetts, turn to a leading expert in the field. The expert team at The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. have dedicated their entire practice to OUI defense and have over 50 years of experience fighting relentlessly for the best possible outcomes. We will fight to protect you, your rights, your family, and your future. Take control of your future and contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.