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Breathalyzer Refusal / Chemical Test Refusal

In Massachusetts, a breathalyzer refusal (which is also known as a chemical test refusal)  results in the Massachusetts RMV automatically suspending the individual's driver's license for at least 6 months.

Melanie's Law increased the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer if you are arrested for OUI in Massachusetts. Also, there is generally no ability to get a Hardship License during the term of a Breath Test Refusal Suspension. However, in some cases, it is still possible. Contact an attorney to find out how.

  • For a 1st offense OUI, your drivers license will be suspended for 180 days for a chemical test refusal.
  • For a 2nd offense OUI, your drivers license will be suspended for 3 years for a chemical test refusal.
  • For a 3rd offense OUI, your drivers license will be suspended for 5 years for a chemical test refusal.
  • For an 4th offense OUI, your drivers license will be suspended for life for a chemical test refusal.
  • For drivers under 21 years of age, a first offense OUI breathalyzer refusal will result in a 3 year license suspension

These Massachusetts Breathalyzer refusal penalties are in addition to any license suspensions imposed for the OUI charge itself. The Mass. RMV runs chemical test refusal suspensions consecutively with OUI suspensions. This means that you must first serve your breathalyzer refusal license suspension and then your OUI suspension. For example, if you are a convicted second offender who refuses the breath test, you must serve a 3 year chemical test refusal suspension and a 2 year OUI suspension, for a total of 5 years. You can apply to the Board of Appeal for a hardship license as soon as you complete the CTR suspension.

Intentionally refusing to cooperate with police during the breath test process, such as refusing to blow enough air into the breathalyzer constitutes a breathalyzer refusal under the Massachusetts breathalyzer law.

If you have a breathalyzer refusal suspension issue, you should contact a suspended license lawyer for a free review of your situation. We may be able to reduce your breathalyzer refusal suspension or eliminate it completely.

Massachusetts Chemical Test Refusal Suspension Appeal Procedures

Within 15 calendar days of a breathalyzer refusal suspension, the driver is entitled to a Registry hearing regarding the following 3 issues: (1) did the police officer have reasonable grounds to believe that the person had been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor upon any way or in any place to which members of the public have a right of access or upon any way to which members of the public have a right of access as invitees or licensees, (2) was such person placed under arrest, and (3) did such person refuse to submit to such test or analysis. You are entitled to be represented by counsel at this hearing. Skilled representation can mean the difference between getting your license back or suffering through a long suspension. Contact a lawyer regarding this process.

Breathalyzer refusal appeals are only heard at the RMV located at 630 Washington St. in Boston. The Registry is required by law to compile a record of this hearing. The driver appealing the license suspension will be required to submit written evidence.

Chemical Test Refusal Suspension Appeal to District Court
If the Registry did not restore your license, within 30 days the issuance of the Registry Hearing Officer's Decision, you have the right to file an appeal in the district court for the judicial district in which the offense occurred. Your appeal MUST be filed within 30 days. Contact an attorney if you have any questions regarding appealing a decision of the Registry. Mass. suspended license lawyers have successfully handled these appeals and legally put drivers back on the road, who would have otherwise been required to serve long and painful license suspensions.

General Massachusetts Breathalyzer Refusal Suspension Information
If your license was suspended because of a breathalyzer refusal and your drunk driving case was resolved in your favor, you are legally entitled to a hearing before the court which took final action on the charges for the purpose of requesting your license back. There is a rebuttable presumption in favor of restoration, unless the Commonwealth establishes by a fair preponderance of the evidence that restoration would "likely endanger the public safety."

Please note, the Board of Appeals states that "all Breathalyzer/Chemical Test Refusal (CTR) revocations must be appealed through the court system (District Court) or addressed directly to the RMV. The Board does not have jurisdiction to hear CTR appeals. Also if your licensing privileges were revoked by the court, not the RMV, you must appeal to the courts."

In the case of RMV v. Stevens, the Superior Court imposed a 3 year CTR revocation for Stevens’ refusal to take a breathalyzer test after her arrest for driving under the influence. At her Registry Hearing, Stevens was not represented by counsel and the Superior Court noted that "Stevens and her mother were present at the hearing. Stevens did not subpoena the police officers to the hearing, as was her right." This demonstrates why it is important to be represented by an attorney at registry hearings. Also, a careful analysis of your record and some legal research might show that you were not actually "convicted" of a prior offense. This could dramatically reduce or eliminate your breathalyzer refusal suspension.

RMV Attorney Brian Simoneau has an excellent record of success with respect to Breathalyzer Refusal Suspension cases. in many cases, he has been able to eliminate or dramatically reduce the length of Breathalyzer Refsual Suspensions, even when other lawyers have said there was nothing that could be done. Contact us today for a free review of your situation. We may be able to get your full license reinstated or get you a Mass. hardship license.