If you are stopped by a police officer after having a few drinks and you are worried that you will fail a breathalyzer test, there are a lot of different considerations that go into deciding how to handle the situation. If you have no prior convictions or ongoing charges of OUI (Operating Under the Influence), there is a certain set of consequences that come along with either taking and failing a breath test or refusing to take a breath test at all. The punishments for refusing a breath test with no history of OUI convictions vary depending on your age, but if you have prior convictions of OUI on your criminal record then the punishments are much more severe.
Read more about your rights during a traffic stop, and the various penalties and consequences to your actions if you already have at least one OUI conviction in your criminal record. Regardless, one of the most important things that you can do is to contact an OUI attorney in Massachusetts as soon as possible. There are many different processes that are time-sensitive, so it is important that we begin our work immediately in order to identify the best outcomes for your situation and pursue them aggressively.
Contact us for a free consultation where you will be able to get advice about your case, learn more about how we can help, and learn about how to get started immediately.
Handling a Traffic Stop With Prior OUI Convictions
Getting pulled over after a few drinks is stressful no matter what the circumstances, but it is important that you understand that the stakes are higher with the penalties of a conviction, and there are additional stakes that will impact you if you decide to refuse a breathalyzer.
How Do You Respond If The Officer Asks If You Have Been Drinking?
The only information that you are required to provide to a police officer during a traffic stop is your registration and your driver’s license. If a police officer asks if you have been drinking, you are not required to answer that question — in some cases, it may end up that any answer you give may be incriminating. In fact, you are not required to step out of the vehicle unless you are being placed under arrest, meaning that you can inform the officer that you will not be answering questions and will not step out of the vehicle unless they are placing you under arrest.
Understand that if you choose to not cooperate with a police officer in the way that they ask you to cooperate, it may ultimately create a situation that will raise tension. It is important that you remain polite and unthreatening regardless of how you choose to interact with the officers on the scene.
Consequences of Refusing a Breath Test
Refusing a breathalyzer test means that your license is automatically suspended from the Registry of Motor Vehicles under the Massachusetts Implied Consent Law. This is a separate suspension than the penalty you will receive if you are then convicted in the Massachusets court systems of OUI. If you have no history of OUI convictions, then refusing the breathalyzer will result in an automatic 180-day suspension. You may submit an appeal for this suspension within 10 days of the situation, but there are very few reasons that this appeal will be approved. Contact us now to build a solid appeal before you must submit it for consideration.
If you are over the age of 21 and have a single previous OUI conviction, then your license will automatically be suspended for three years. There is no option for a hardship license during this suspension, even though your conviction may allow you to apply for a hardship license after a certain period of time.
If you have two previous OUI convictions and refuse a breathalyzer test, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for five years, again during which time you will be unable to apply for a hardship license. You may be able to appeal this suspension, but as with a first or second prior conviction, these appeals are time-sensitive and rarely approved.
If you have three prior OUI convictions and refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for life.
Consequences of Multiple OUI Convictions
If you choose to submit to a breathalyzer and are consequently arrested on charges of OUI due to a high BAC (blood alcohol concentration), this does not mean that you are guilty. We will fight to ensure that we are able to disprove the claims of the arresting officer, ensure that all steps were properly taken, and if they were not, we will point to these issues as a cause for vacating your charges, and will work with you to identify every possible option to help you navigate your case.