In Massachusetts, a person arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol is usually taken to the Mass. State Police barracks or other police department and offered a breath test as part of the DUI booking process. The state trooper or arresting officer enters either the defendant’s consent to take the breath test or the defendant’s chemical test refusal into the breathalyzer, either a Drager Alcotest® 9510 or Alcotest® 7110 MK III-C. The information regarding blood alcohol content or the DUI defendant’s refusal is then electronically and automatically transmitted to the Driver Control Unit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the appropriate license suspension is imposed. Failing a breath test in Massachusetts will trigger a 90 day loss of license and refusing to submit to a breath test will result in an automatic license suspension ranging from 6 months to life, depending on the OUI defendant’s age and number of prior drunk driving convictions.
In DWI cases where a defendant charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and taken to a hospital or medical facility for treatment, there is no breathalyzer available to record either the driver’s blood alcohol content or the driver’s refusal to submit to the chemical test. Consequently, where a person consents or refuses to give a blood sample for analysis to the trooper/officer, that defendant still has an active driver’s license. G.L. c. 90, §24N is a law which allows a judge to suspend the license of a defendant charged with DUI, who either consents or refuses to give a blood or breath sample, but still has an active license because the Registry of Motor Vehicles was never notified. Those charged with OUI should be aware of this law and discuss the potential license suspension with their DUI lawyer such as Brian E. Simoneau, who specializes in Massachusetts license suspension appeals.