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Chemical Test Refusal Hearings

Massachusetts Registry News

When the police notify the Registry that a person who was arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol has refused to submit to a breath or blood test, the Registry will automatically suspend that person’s driver’s license or right to operate in Massachusetts. The length of the suspension is determined by the driver’s age and prior record. These chemical test refusal suspensions are imposed pursuant to G.L. c. 90, § 24(1)(f)(1).

No hardship license is authorized by law, unless the criminal Operating Under the Influence (OUI) case has been properly disposed, in court, pursuant to G.L. c. 90, § 24D. This disposition is only available to first offenders and “second chance first offenders.”

Any additional license suspensions or revocations arising out of the OUI case will run consecutively and not concurrently with the chemical test refusal suspension.

You have the legal right to challenge and contest your chemical test refusal suspension by following this process. First, your refusal hearing must be initiated within 15 days of your arrest. This hearing will only be conducted at the RMV’s Haymarket Branch and nowhere else. The Registry holds breathalyzer refusal hearings at 136 Blackstone Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, Massachusetts. No appointment is necessary and these hearings are held on a walk-in basis only.

A lawyer or specially trained RMV Hearing Officer will conduct the hearing. You may appear and present any witnesses, documents, or other evidence you wish to have considered. There is no provision in the law for any extension of this time period, and no letter, phone calls, or other communications to the RMV will serve to extend this period beyond 15 Days from the date of arrest.

Given the potentially high stakes of these breathalyzer refusal hearings, such as license suspensions which range from 6 months to life, it strongly recommended that you be represented by competent and skilled legal counsel who is aware of the applicable legal arguments and defenses.

Any adverse outcomes must be appealed to the District Court having jurisdiction over the DUI offenses and not the Board of Appeal. Adverse District Court rulings can be appealed to Superior Court.

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