Drivers who have been drinking in Massachusetts and are stopped by the police will be asked to take a roadside breathalyzer test. While it is ultimately the driver’s choice whether to take the test or not, there are things to be aware of so the right decision can be made. According to Massachusetts Law, drivers are unable to contact an attorney about the decision beforehand, so knowing the pros and cons is important.
One of the pros to taking the test is that the driver is seen as cooperative which, although this does not change the results, may help the situation in general. One of the biggest pros is that the license suspension period is shorter. According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, people who take the test and fail (a BAC of .08 or higher) lose their license for 30 days. This is compared to drivers who refuse the breathalyzer, who immediately have their licenses suspended for 180 days.
One con of submitting to the breathalyzer is that the results may be flawed due to calibration or programming error. Even though this can be contested in court, it may still be used against the driver in court. It also proves that the driver is, in fact, intoxicated, and the BAC content may be used by the prosecution to ask for a tougher sentence.
Whether or not a breathalyzer is initially used, there are many cons to being busted for driving under the influence. These include long suspension periods, alcohol responsibility classes, financial consequences and ignition interlock devices for multiple offenders.