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Massachusetts Breathalyzer Refusal Rights & Penalties


If you are over the age of 21 and you refuse a breathalyzer in Massachusetts, your license will be suspended for at least 180 days and up to life.

If you are under 21 years old and you refuse a Massachusetts breath test, your license will be suspended for at least 3 years and up to life, plus you will face an additional period of suspension of at least 180 days up to 1 year pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 24P.

Massachusetts Breathalyzer refusal suspensions go into effect immediately upon the person’s refusal to submit to the chemical test. No hardship licenses are authorized by law during the breathalyzer refusal suspension period unless the person who refused is legally qualified for a DUI first offender’s disposition, or second chance first offender disposition, and the DUI case was resolved under G.L. c. 90 § 24D.

If your license was suspended for refusing to take the breathalyzer in Massachusetts, you have the opportunity for a hearing any Monday through Friday, excluding state, federal, and Suffolk County holidays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. You only have 15 days from the date of your arrest. These hearings are held only in the Boston office of the Registry located at 136 Blackstone Street, 3rd Floor. Breath Test Refusal hearing requests at any other Registry branch will not be granted. Hearings are on a walk-in basis only. No extensions of the 15 day period following the arrest will be granted and no phone calls, e-mails or other communications with the Registry will change your right to a hearing.

By law, the Registry cannot issue any type of hardship, limited, or work license during the breathalyzer refusal period, and no hearing can be held on such requests, except if your case was resolved under G.L. c. 90 § 24D.

Massachusetts Breathalyzer refusal hearings are limited in scope to issues such as: did the police have reason to believe that you were operating under the influence on a public way or right of access, were you placed under arrest, and did you refuse. In order for you to have refused, the police must have informed you of your rights and the consequences of refusing. Also, refusals must be properly and sufficiently documented. If the police fail to document the refusal in a certain way, you can have the refusal suspension vacated.

In certain limited cases, it may be possible to challenge a breathalyzer refusal suspension outside of the 15 day period. Contact DUI Defense Attorney Brian E. Simoneau at 508-656-0057 or via e-mail: to find out how.

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