Consequences of Refusing the Breathalyzer in a Massachusetts OUI arrest

When you are charged with OUI in Massachusetts and refuse the breathalyzer, you have a strong case at being found not guilty of drunk driving. But there is a downside, in that there is a license suspension for refusing the breathalyzer test. This means that you will be with out your license for at least some period of time while contesting the refusal or attempting to get a trial date on the

Under Massachusetts OUI law, there are two ways to get your license back for a Breathalyzer refusal.

  1. Appeal the refusal suspension to the RMV
  2. The appeal must be within 15 days of the arrest (including weekends and holidays). The RMV will not hear your appeal even if you appear on the 16th day.

    You can only appeal to the RMV in Boston, Massachusetts. This is the only RMV in Massachusetts that will hear Breathalyzer refusal appeals.

    In most case the RMV will uphold the suspension, you then must appeal to the district court where the OUI case is being heard to argue that the RMV exceeded its authority in suspending your license.

  3. Obtain a not guilty verdict on the underlying OUI charge.
  4. Reinstatement of your license following a not guilty verdict on the OUI Charge.

    If you are found not guilty on your Massachusetts OUI charge, the court will typically reinstate your license on a first offense as there is a presumption of reinstatement.

    You will need to have the district court judge who heard the trial allow a motion to reinstate your license. On a first offense, the motion will typically be allowed.

  • How Long is your License suspended for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test?

(If you are under 21 and refusal the Breathalyzer, you face a three-year loss of license.)

No. of prior OUI convictionsLicense Suspension
0180 days
13 years
25 years
3Lifetime loss

A prior conviction includes out of state offenses or assignments to an alcohol treatment program.


Things to consider immediately after your OUI arrest:

  • While you do not have to appeal a refusal suspension, it is important to understand Massachusetts OUI laws so that you can make an informed decision whether or not to pursue this appeal.
  • Given the short time limit to appeal a refusal suspension to the RMV, it is easy to lose your ability to appeal the breathalyzer refusal suspension and then to the District Court where your OUI case is being heard.

Attorney DelSignore is an experienced Massachusetts OUI lawyer

  • Can explain the Process of Appealing a breath test refusal suspension
  • Will discuss your case with you, feel free to call 781-686-5924 to ask your questions about license suspensions for refusing a breath test.
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