What Happens If I Refuse A Breathalyzer Test?

If the police arrest you for suspected drunk driving, one of the very first things they will do is try to get you to submit to chemical testing, such as a breathalyzer test. As you sit there wondering what to do, you may ask yourself, can I refuse a breath test? What happens if I do?

Well, the short answer is yes, you can refuse testing. However, since Massachusetts' implied consent law says you are already "deemed to have consented" to such testing by simply driving on a public road, you will face penalties if you do ultimately refuse.

At Patrick K. Burke, Attorney at Law, we understand how confusing this law may sound, which is why we want you to know your rights when it comes to breath test refusals. Only then can you make informed legal decisions ― decisions that are guided by your best interests and not the interests of the police.

Whether you have been accused of refusing a breath test or need help defending yourself against OUI/DUI charges, you need a criminal defense lawyer with experience ― you need Patrick K. Burke. With nearly 20 years of legal experience, including almost five as a prosecutor, attorney Patrick K. Burke understands how the criminal justice system works, and he will put this knowledge to work for you.

Pros And Cons Of Refusing A Breath Test

There are several reasons why it is a good idea to refuse testing. For instance, it makes a conviction harder to obtain since prosecutors have less evidence to use against you, not to mention the machines the police use to conduct the test are not always reliable ― meaning they cannot be trusted. Also, prosecutors cannot use the fact that you refused a breath test as evidence against you in a Massachusetts court, even if you are facing OUI/DUI charges.

On the other hand, a refusal following arrest may result in an immediate license suspension, including:

  • First offense: six month license suspension
  • Second offense: three year license suspension if you have a previous refusal or OUI/DUI conviction
  • Third offense: five year license suspension if you have two previous refusals or OUI/DUI convictions
  • Fourth offense: lifetime license suspension if you have three previous refusals or OUI/DUI convictions

Interestingly, while the police must warn you that your license will be subject to a suspension if you refuse testing, they are not required to warn you of the many other penalties you may face if you take the test and fail, which apply even if you are a first-time offender. However, you now have the information you need to make the right choice for you ― although it is still a good idea to consult with a lawyer.

Help Is Just A Phone Call Away

If you have questions about breath tests refusals, or need help defending against OUI/DUI charges in general, contact Patrick K. Burke, Attorney at Law. Schedule a consultation today by emailing us online or calling us at 978-728-9446. From our office in Leominster, we defend clients throughout Worcester County and the surrounding areas.