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Can you legally refuse a breath test in Massachusetts?

You may be tempted to try to sneak under the radar when driving under the influence on Massachusetts streets and highways. But when the inevitable happens and you are pulled over by the police for behavior indicative of drunken driving, you may feel, under implied consent standards, as though you have no choice but to submit to the breathalyzer test administered by the attending officer. This, in fact, is not true and you may have options other than taking a standard breath test.

Under Massachusetts law, you have the legal right to refuse the breathalyzer test. As stated by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety, an officer must inform you of your rights and the consequences of refusing the breath test. After being provided this information, you have the right to decline the breathalyzer. If you refuse, the officer cannot administer the breath test and must desist all attempts to conduct the test immediately.

That does not mean you can avoid the consequences of a DUI/OUI simply by refusing to take a breath test. If that were the case, no drunk driver would ever face penalties for operating under the influence. Instead a standard penalty is assigned based on the number of prior offenses or refusals. The refusal is also noted on your record with the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which can have consequences toward your ability to maintain a driver's license.

This information is provided for reference purposes only, and should not be considered actionable legal advice or misconstrued as the recommendation of a lawyer.

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