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Penalties for refusing a breathlyzer test

Drivers in Massachusetts who are stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence will be asked to take a breathalyzer test. While it is possible in the state to refuse it, there are consequences related to saying no.

According to FindLaw, driving is regarded not as a right, but as a privilege. This means that by getting behind the wheel, drivers are giving their assent to take a breathalyzer test. Refusal to do so results in immediate consequences. Depending on the state this can be jail time, license suspension and/or fines. The refusal may also be used against the defendant in a trial situation.

In the state of Massachusetts, law enforcement officers must inform drivers of their rights and outline the penalties related to refusing consent to the roadside breathalyzer. Drivers who say no to the test can expect their license to be suspended for a certain amount of time, depending on their prior convictions. According to the Massachusetts Court System, there is a minimum of a six month suspension for drivers who have not had a drunk driving offense previously. For one prior offense the license is suspended for three years, and with two prior offenses there is a five year license suspension. Drivers who have had three or more drunk driving convictions will have their licenses revoked for life.

Drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence may also face fines, possible jail time, alcohol classes and an even longer license suspension time. The estimated cost of a DUI is around $8,000 for the first offense and even more for subsequent offenses.


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