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I refused a breathalyzer in 1989 and the RMV in Massachusetts will only let me renew my license if I install a breathalyzer.

Waltham, MA |

The RMV says it was an oversight by the courts , yet now it rears it's ugly head. I was found innocent of OUI and my attorney said I was lucky for no suspension for refusal of the breathalyzer. Due to Melanie's Law I have moved out of state. Will this follow me everywhere?

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Attorney answers 3


Refusal of a breathalyzer in MA only results in a 6 month suspension. If the RMV is requiring a ignition device, there is more to the story. If you are not living in MA, the state law where you live is controlling. If you want some help sorting this out, feel free to call me for a free consultation tomorrow

Providing users with information is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. However, if in reading my response, you are interested in retaining me to represent you, please do not hesitate to contact me.


In order to intelligently and effectively answer your question we need more facts. Generally speaking in Massachusetts the requirement of an ignition interlock device only comes into play if you have two or more DUI convictions (or assignments to a program) on your record. I need to see your RMV Driver Record and I also need to know what the RMV knows about your criminal history for OUI (both in MA and ouside of MA). If your license or your right to operate has been suspended or revoked in MA and if that suspension or revokation has been entered into the NDR System (National Driver Register) then it is unlikely that you will be able to get a license in any state until you clear up MA.I have done many of these hearings at the RMV and the Board of Appeal and would be happy to review your case. There is no charge for the initial consult. Please call.

Robert D. Lewin, Attorney
Offices in Malden, MA and Andover, MA
Tel. 781-322-2228
Fax. 781-322-6351


I have to know more about your criminal record before a proper analysis can be made. Refusing a breathalyzer doesn’t trigger the interlock. Melanie’s law requiring the imposition of the interlock is only triggered upon the application of a new license following the conviction of a second OUI offense, whether a Massachusetts OUI conviction or out of state OUI conviction.

If you had two OUI convictions prior to the imposition of Melanie’s law in 2005, and had you license restored prior to 2005, then you would not be subject to the interlock. If, however, you allowed your license to lapse following the passage of Melanie’s law in 2005, then tried to renew it, you would be subject to the requirements of the interlock. The interlock requirement is triggered by statute when you apply for a new license after 2005, even if your OUI convictions predated the effective date of Melanie’s law.

Attorney Steven J. Topazio
10 Winthrop Square, Suite 4100
Boston, MA 02110

Any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need additional information, call Attorney Topazio directly at 617-422-4803 regarding your specific concern.