When you are pulled over on Massachusetts streets under suspicion of driving under the influence, you may have the right to refuse a breathalyzer. But do Massachusetts police use chemical testing such as blood or urine testing to determine blood alcohol level? If so, do you have the same right to refuse chemical testing as you have to refuse a breathalyzer?

Massachusetts does in fact have a toxicology unit that conducts blood and urine testing for drivers suspected to be operating under the influence to give a reliable reading for blood alcohol content. However, just as with any other type of BAC testing, you do have the right to refuse testing without incurring a criminal charge. That does not mean refusal is wholly without penalties, however. Refusing to take a chemical test can, like refusing a breathalyzer, result in mandatory license suspension or revocation depending on the frequency of the offence and any other circumstances.

In fact, your license suspension will be effective immediately upon refusal of the chemical test. The officer who pulled you over will provide written notice of the suspension, and will immediately impound your vehicle. At that point if you are a driver over 21, you face a suspension of 180 days for your first offense, before penalties escalate from three to five years for subsequent offenses. After your third offense, your license will be revoked permanently. Penalties for younger drivers are much more severe, and penalties significantly escalate for drivers of all ages if an injury was involved.

This is an informational blog, and should not be used as a substitute for legal counsel.