Breathalyzer Refusal Suspensions

Breathalyzer Refusal SuspensionIn accordance with the Massachusetts implied consent law, if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test after being arrested for DUI in Massachusetts, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days up to life. The length of the refusal suspension depends on your age and number of prior DUI convictions. Evidence showing that you refused to consent to a breathalyzer or blood test will not be admissible against you at your DWI trial. However, refusal evidence is admissible at any RMV hearing.

License suspension penalties for breathalyzer refusals only apply when a person is arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Refusal license suspension penalties do not apply when a person is arrested for DUI drugs. Also, refusal suspension penalties can only be imposed after the arrestee was advised that his license, learner’s permit, or right to operate motor vehicles in Massachusetts will be suspended for a period of at least 6 months and up to a lifetime for the refusal.

If a person refuses to take a breathalyzer or blood test, the police are required to impound the vehicle used to commit the DUI for a 12-hour period, with the costs for the towing, storage and maintenance of the vehicle to be borne by the operator.

Chemical test refusal suspensions become effective immediately upon receipt of the notification of suspension from the police officer. These suspensions run consecutively and not concurrently. This means that they are “stacked” so that the refusal suspension will run first and any additional DUI suspension will not begin until the refusal suspension expires.

The police officer who receives the refusal is required to submit a report to the Mass. RMV within 24 hours of the refusal. The report must be made under the penalties of perjury and describe the grounds for the DUI arrest. It must state that the person refused and identify a witness to the refusal as well as the officer who requested the test.

Chemical Test Refusal (CTR) suspensions must be appealed to the Boston Branch of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, 136 Blackstone Street, Boston, MA, 3rd floor, during normal business hours on business days. Appeals must be filed within 15 days of the refusal. The police refusal report is considered prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. Legal representation at these refusal hearings is strongly recommended.

Except in first offense DUI and “second chance first offense” DUI cases, the Registry will not grant any hardship, work, or Cinderella license while a breathalyzer refusal suspension is in effect. In repeat offense cases, this implied consent suspension must be served prior to hardship license consideration.