Refusing a DUI breath test




As of July, 2003, Massachusetts has a "per se" DUI/ OUI law, under which you are considered Driving Under the Influence if your blood alcohol ratio (BAC) is over .08. In Massachusetts, most simple first offender DUI charges are handled as "alternative disposition" probation plea bargains, under which you participate in a mandatory drug-alcohol education program, and your license is temporarily suspended.


 Dui First Offense Penalties:


Jail: Not more than 2 1/2 years House of Correction
Fine: $500-$5,000
License suspended for 1 year; work/education hardship license considered in 3 months; general hardship in 6 months.
Alternative disposition (1st Offense OUI)


Probation based on a plea bargain of the criminal DUI charge above.
Mandatory participation in alcohol-drug education program paid for by defendant.
License suspended for 30 days (210 days for drivers under age 21)
License Suspension:


· A breath test of .08 for operators over age 21 (or .02 for operators under age 21) incurs a 90 day suspension. This suspension terminates at 90 days or with the disposition of the case, whichever is earlier. For a first offense OUI charge (over age 21), the license suspension period has recently decreased from 90 to 30 days. If you plea bargain to the criminal DUI charge, you will receive no more than a license suspension of 30 days.


Refusing the Breath Test:


If you refused the breathalyzer, you will automatically lose your license for 180 days for the first refusal offense. Under Massachusetts DUI law you have no right to an attorney after being asked to take a field sobriety test.


If you refused to take a breath or blood test after being arrested in Massachusetts, or if the results of your test were .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) or above, your license will be suspended 15 days after the arrest, unless you take action to demand an administrative hearing within 30 business days after the arrest.


If you are under 18 and have been arrested for Operating Under the Influence (OUI), and you refuse to take a chemical test (usually a breath test), you face two separate license suspensions before the case even goes to court. You faces a 180 day license suspension for the chemical test refusal - if you have no prior record of an OUI conviction.
In addition, you face an additional one (1) year license suspension.


The additional suspension applies to any operator under the age of 18 who refuses to take a chemical test of his or her breath or blood when arrested for Operating Under the Influence. This additional suspension may be reduced to a period of 180 days if you voluntarily enters and completes a Youth Alcohol Program recognized by the Department of Public Health. Regardless of whether the offender fails or refuses to take the test, the additional one (1) year suspension penalty is not affected by the outcome of the offender's court case or criminal charges, even if the offender is found not guilty.


 There is no automatic Hardship license eligibility on suspensions resulting from a refusal to submit to the Breath Test.. Once your refusal failure suspension has expired, you are eligible to get your full license back for a reinstatement fee regardless of whether your case is still pending in court.


Insurance Rates: Your insurance rates will rise considerably from any DUI conviction or guilty plea. You may lose your current insurance company and only find insurance with a company that offers less coverage for more money.



Hardship License:


First time OUI offenders are offered the ability to receive a limited use hardship license immediately after their case is completed. License is good for only 12 hours a day, for driving to and from work, school, medical appointments, alcohol recovery programs, etc. If you decide to admit to the offense or go to trial and then lose while you are suspended, you may still be eligible for a hardship license for a first offense.


Hardship license applicants must wait 3 business days after their court date before appearing at special Registry offices, and must first have appeared for in-take at their assigned first offender program. You must provide the following documentation at the hearing:


Proof of hardship (i.e. employment, education, medical, etc.) ·
Proof of enrollment in a Massachusetts First Offender Program approved by the Department of Public Health.


Under 21:


Massachusetts law prohibits the consumption of any alcohol by persons under the age of 21. If you are under 21, and have a BAC of .02 or greater, your license will be suspended.
For those under 21, the suspension for refusal of the breath test have increased from 180 days to 1 year.


Under 18:


A breath test reading of .02 or above will result in a license suspension for any driver who is under the age of 18. Generally, breath test readings of .02 to .04 will result in a 1 year license suspension. The suspension may be reduced to 180 days if the offender voluntarily enters and completes a Youth Alcohol Program.


If you are under the age of 18 you may be charged with OUI (Operating Under the Influence) if your breath test reading is .06 or higher. If charged, you will receive a 90 day suspension in addition to the one year suspension described above.
If you are convicted of an OUI or ordered by the court to enter a Driver Alcohol Education Program (DAEP), a 210 day suspension will be imposed in addition to the suspensions above.


Commercial Vehicle Drivers:


If you are tested with .04 BAC, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than one year.


Massachusetts Driver Alcohol Education Programs


The Driver Alcohol Education Program (DAEP) is a program for individuals charged with a First Offense Driving Under the Influence. Most participants are referred by area District Courts and are on Probation while in the program You have the option of attending the DAE Program as an alternative to a lengthier license loss, heavier fines, and possible incarceration.


The program consists of an intake assessment, thirty-two hours of group meetings over sixteen weeks, exposure to self-help groups through attending two meetings in your community, and a victim impact presentation with speakers from MADD.


Costs: frequently around $600.00





Contact an expert DUI attorney


If you would like to work with an attorney who has the expertise defending clients charged with DUI/OUI in Massachusetts, please do not hesitate to call today at 781-816-3950 for your free consultation or contact us online.



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Attorney at Law