Monday, April 13, 2009

Massachusetts Breathalyzer Refusals

If you refuse the breathalyzer in Massachusetts, the police department will immediately suspended your license in Massachusetts or your privilege to operate a motor vehicle if you have an out of state license. You can challenge this license suspension.

It is important to contact an attorney immediately because you only have fifteen days from the date of the arrest to challenge the license suspension. This fifteen day period includes weekends and legal holidays. The process for challenging the suspension begins by appearing at the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Boston to request a hearing regarding your refusal to submit to a chemical test. The hearings are held only in Boston regardless of where the offense occurred.

Because the hearings are done on a walk in basis, often the RMV will request a continuance to obtain a copy of the police report and report of refusal that must be prepared by the arresting officer. This report of refusal that the police must send to the RMV provides the legal authority for the Registry to suspend your license. The report of refusal must contain the following information to provide a basis for the license suspension:

First, the report must be made under the pains and penalties of perjury and set forth the grounds for the officer's belief that the person arrested had been operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol; second, the report must state that such person refused to submit to a chemical test upon request by the officer. Third, the report must identity an officer who witnessed the refusal, which requires that an officer other than the officer requesting the chemical test state that the motorist refused the breathalyzer test.

Although motorists are often unsuccessful at the Registry obtaining a license reinstatement, the motorist is permitted to appeal the suspension to the district court, where the judge is going to review the record to ensure that the RMV complied with the law in issuing the suspension. It is at the district court that a motorist may be able to obtain reinstatement on the grounds that the RMV or police department failed to comply with Massachusetts law in issuing the license suspension.

You may be able to get your suspension for refusing the chemical test in Massachusetts vacated. It is important to call an attorney immediately as the fifteen day time period is strictly enforced.

Michael A. DelSignore is a Massachusetts and Rhode Island lawyer/attorney practicing OUI/DUI/DWI defense, breathalyzer refusals and criminal defense. Michael A. DelSignore is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Please go to for more information or call him at 508-455-4755.

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