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Consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test

When people get pulled over or are otherwise contained by law enforcement for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, they will usually be asked to take a breathalyzer test. While they have the right to refuse to take this test, they may face consequences of doing this. According to the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, an officer may impound the vehicle and immediately suspend the driver’s license if a person refuses to submit to the test.

The Town of Boylston outlines the penalties in Massachusetts for refusing a test based on previous drunk driving convictions. If a person has never had an issue before, then he or she will face a 180-day license suspension for refusing to take the test. One or two previous convictions will result in three or five years suspension, respectively. For those who have been a serious repeat offender with three or more convictions, not submitting to a breathalyzer results in a lifetime suspension of their driver’s licenses. The penalties are even stiffer for someone who holds a commercial driver’s license. The first refusal results in a one-year suspension, and a lifetime suspension is what comes with any addition refusals.

It is important to note that if a person does take the test and it shows they are over the legal limit, their license will still be suspended. However, it is only suspended for 30 days. In addition, regardless of whether a person takes the test or not, he or she will still face criminal charges for drunk driving. Convictions can result in additional time added to the license suspension, prison time and fines, which include basic court fines and costs, impound charges, lawyer fees, license reinstatement fees and alcohol treatment program costs. 

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