When an individual is pulled over for driving under the influence, they automatically give their consent to be administered a breathalyzer test, and this is called the implied consent law. If an individual fails to provide a breath sample when a police officer requests one from them, then they will receive a penalty (typically a fine, license suspension, or sometimes even jail time).
Implied consent laws vary depending on the state. According to FindLaw, penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test in Massachusetts are as follows, “Six-month automatic license suspension, but refusal cannot be used to imply guilt in a DUI case; lifetime suspension for refusal after three prior DUI offenses.”
If an individual has a history of past DUI infractions, then their repercussions will be incrementally higher. This is a hit that someone must be willing to take in order to avoid a DUI… but in many cases if the defendant is found guilty, then they will be stuck with both punishments.
The reason that an individual may refuse a breathalyzer test is because they are not always accurate representations of a person’s ability to operate a vehicle. Each person’s BAC is different, so the breathalyzer can only go so far as to determine whether someone is fit to drive. If a person is not endangering anyone else on the road, then they may choose to refuse the test in order to avoid an unfair conviction.
Oftentimes, in the case of license suspension, one may easily repeal with the help of a DUI attorney. Courts are typically more gracious when an operator requires use of their vehicle to attend school or work. However, this does not mean that if one takes the refusal penalty over the possible DUI conviction that they will come out of the ordeal unscathed. Fortunately, at least, the Massachusetts court is not allowed to consider a refusal as an admission of guilt. It is important to speak with a lawyer about the implications of choosing to refuse the breath test.
If you have refused a breathalyzer or have been pulled over for drunk driving, then contact the attorneys at Revelli & Luzzo. We specialize in criminal law and are here to defend your rights as a vehicle operator.