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What is implied consent?

When you obtain your Massachusetts driver's license, you may be warned that by completing the process you are now held to Massachusetts’s implied consent laws regarding operating under the influence. But what exactly does that mean, and how does it impact your given right to refuse a breath test?

Basically, Massachusetts is an implied consent state, as described by Mass.gov. What this means is that by obtaining a Massachusetts driver's license, you are implying that you consent to a breath test in the event that you are arrested for operating under the influence (OUI/DUI). Even if you are not aware of this fact, under law that consent is considered a given. You should always be informed about what implied consent involves when you hold a valid personal or commercial driver's license.

However, this does not limit your ability to refuse a breath test. You always have the right to refuse a breath test whether you are intoxicated or sober. However, implied consent is one of the reasons why refusing a breath test results in a license suspension and other penalties, as you are now revoking that implied consent. Even if you refuse a breath test you may still be arrested at that point; you will also be unable to continue driving with your license immediately suspended. The refusal may also end up on your driving record, and your car could be impounded for up to 12 hours.

This blog post has been intended as an informational reference and should not be misconstrued as actionable legal advice.

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