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Massachusetts Law on Breathalyzer Test Refusals

Posted by attorney Eleftherios Travayiakis

Whether or not you are ever pulled over for DUI / Drunk Driving in Massachusetts, you should know that the legal limit in Massachusetts for Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) is a reading of 0.08%, which is relatively low.

What most people don't realize, however, is that you do have the right to refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer Test if you are stopped for suspected DUI / Drunk Driving. Although there may be a mandatory loss of your driver's license for the refusal, you should weigh any loss of your driver's license against the possibility of beating your criminal case if your refuse.

If you elect not to submit to a Breathalyzer Test, that refusal cannot be used at trial in the criminal prosecution against you (although your license will likely be suspended for refusing).

As a result of the passing of 'Melanie's Law' in 2005, Massachusetts law mandates that, for a Breathalyzer refusal, your driver's license will be suspended for:

  • First Refusal: 180 days
  • Second Refusal: 3 years suspension
  • Third Refusal: 5 year suspension
  • Fourth Refusal: LIFETIME suspension

Additionally, if you do elect to submit to a Breathalyzer test and fail (blow a reading of 0.08& or higher), your license will automatically be suspended for 30 days. In the case of a failed Breathalyzer Test, there is no hardship license alternative.

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