If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, then you’re inevitably going to be asked to take a DUI breath test. This can be a tense situation, and as such, you’re going to want to know how to respond, what to do, and what kind of actions you should take during and after the officer has requested that you take the breath test.Here are some of the decisions available to you when asked to take a DUI breath test here in Massachusetts:
Refusing the Test
In the state of Massachusetts, you can refuse to take a breathalyzer test, although there are immediate consequences for doing so. The “Implied Consent Law” essentially states that by driving a motor vehicle on the roads of Massachusetts, you are consenting to a breath test if you are to be arrested and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Liquor. If you refuse, however, there are immediate administrative driver’s license consequences. These include:
A 180-day suspension of your driver’s license if you are over 21 and have no prior OUI convictions
A 3-year suspension if you are over 21 and have 1 prior OUI conviction
A 5-year suspension if you are over 21 and have 2 prior OUI convictions
A lifetime driver’s license suspension if you are over 21 and have 3 or more prior OUI convictions
If your license has been suspended as a result of refusing to submit to a breath test, it is important that you know that you are entitled to a hearing at the RMV within 15 days of your refusal to appeal the suspension. If you do not avail yourself of that appeal process within the 15 days, you will be stuck with the refusal suspension unless and until you are found Not Guilty in court or the case is dismissed.
Taking the Test
If you did take the DUI breath test and failed it, don’t lose hope. A District Court Judge recently ruled that the breathalyzer machine used in Massachusetts produces presumptively unreliable results, rendering them inadmissible. That likely won’t remain the case forever, so it is important that you consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney. Your attorney can review the specific facts of your case and breath test result.
There are a number of ways that an experienced DUI attorney can effectively defend you against breathalyzer evidence. If you’ve been charged or arrested for DUI in Massachusetts, then your first step should be to contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will quickly review your case, walk you through the steps to come, and then represent you in court.