The Breathalyzer Law in Massachusetts

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If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI or OUI in Massachusetts, you will likely be asked to take a breathalyzer test.

Possessing a better understanding of the drunk driving laws in Massachusetts can help you protect your rights to the best of your ability. Learn more by reaching out to an experienced Massachusetts DUI attorney today.

Submitting to the Breathalyzer

If you are asked to take a breathalyzer test and choose to do so, it is important to note that the legal limit in Massachusetts is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 %. It is difficult to say how many drinks this equates to because everyone’s body composition and tolerance is different. There are also a variety of factors that may effect alcohol absorption, such as what you have had to eat that day, an underlying medical condition, or what type of alcohol you have been consuming.

While refusing the breath test is often the best decision to beat your case at trial, it comes with an immediate and substantial license loss.

Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

If you choose not to take the breathalyzer, you can expect a mandatory suspension of your Massachusetts driver’s license. Such a suspension can lead to serious inconvenience and expense. The consequences will be much worse if you already have a DUI conviction or a continuance without a finding (CWOF) on your record.

In the state’s statutory efforts to keep drunk drivers off the road, it applies severe penalties to refusing a breathalyzer. If you refuse the breathalyzer test and you have no prior convictions for OUI, your license will be immediately suspended for 6 months. The passing of Melanie’s Law in Massachusetts in 2005 also ensures that your car will be impounded for up to 12 hours if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer upon request.

If you have been asked to take a breathalyzer, you will need to carefully consider the circumstances involved and you should request the opportunity to speak with a lawyer.

Your Refusal Cannot Be Used At Trial

A refusal to take a breathalyzer cannot be used against you by the prosecution in your DUI case. Meaning, when the prosecutor gets up to make his or her closing argument, they cannot tell the jury, “of course he is guilty, he refused the breathalyzer test!” Instead, neither party is permitted to discuss the breathalyzer at the trial. Your refusal will simply lead to an automatic license suspension.

If You Blow Over .08%

If you consent to a breathalyzer test and blow over the legal limit of .08% BAC, your license will be suspended for 30 days.

The Suspension Requirement

If you are over the age of 21, your driver’s license will be suspended according to the following schedule for a breathalyzer refusal:

  • 180 days (if you have no prior DUI offenses)
  • 3 years (if you have 1 prior DUI offense)
  • 5 years (if you have 2 prior DUI offenses)
  • Lifetime suspension (if you have 3 or more prior DUI offenses)

In other words, Massachusetts takes DUIs and breathalyzer refusals exceptionally seriously, and it is in your best interest to have a savvy DUI attorney in your corner.

Consult with an Experienced Massachusetts DUI Attorney Today

McCormack Law – proudly serving clients in Falmouth, New Bedford, Plymouth, and throughout the state – dedicate their practice to skillfully guiding challenging cases like yours toward optimal outcomes that faithfully uphold our client’s rights. For more information, contact or call us at 508-252-8514 today.

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