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Will a Jury Know I Refused a Breathalyzer Test in a Massachusetts OUI Trial?

In the chart below, explains that a refusal to take the breath test, portable breath test or a refusal to perform field sobriety tests, would all be inadmissible at trial. This means a jury is not told, that you refused, took a portable breath test or refused field sobriety tests.

Jury chart

This is in contrast however to the interpretation of the United States Constitution where evidence of a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test can be admitted under federal law.

Often a jury will ask whether there was any breathalyzer test even when not presented with any breathalyzer evidence.

Under Massachusetts OUI law, the judge instructs the jury that they are only to consider the evidence presented in court.

When you refuse a breathalyzer test, the case will depend exclusively on the observations of the officers which includes the observations of the driving, the officers interaction with you at the side of the road, meaning his request for your license and registration and any performance on field sobriety tests.

If you refuse field sobriety tests, the jury also is not told that you refused field sobriety tests and that cannot be considered as evidence against you.

The reason why a refusal to submit to a field sobriety test or a refusal to take a breathalyzer test is inadmissible is that it would violate your privilege against self-incrimination under Article 12 of the Massachusetts Constitution. The Massachusetts Supreme Court has interpreted the self-incrimination clause of our state constitution to prohibit this evidence in court. It is common to juries to ask whether an individual took a breathalyzer test in a Massachusetts OUI trial.

Click here if you are interested in seeing some of Attorney DelSignore’s winning trials.

If you have questions about the evidence that will be presented in a Massachusetts OUI trial or about the Court Process when charged with an OUI, you can contact Attorney Delsignore through this website or by calling 508-455-4755 or 781-686-5924.

Client Reviews
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! He was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
I cannot express the gratitude towards Michael for his amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael over and over again. Claire