If police ever pull you over on suspicion of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (OUI/DUI), they will likely ask you to submit to a breath test. However, while police are required to inform you that a refusal of testing may result in the loss of your license for six months to life, the information they don’t tell you is often just as important.
For instance, the truth of the matter is that you will typically only lose your license for the rest of your life if you have multiple refusals or prior alcohol-related driving offenses on your record, which is simply not the case for most motorists.
In addition, while a refusal may result in a six-month license suspension, if you take the test and fail, the likelihood being convicted of OUI/DUI greatly increases – meaning you may face many other criminal penalties besides a simple license suspension. Surprising, police are not required to warn you of these consequences.
Should I refuse breath testing?
Even though there is rarely a clear answer to this question, there are many reasons why it may be a good idea to refuse testing. For example, a refusal greatly reduces the chances of an OUI/DUI conviction since it limits the evidence prosecutors will have to use against you. In addition, Massachusetts is one of the few states in which your refusal to take a breath test cannot be used against you in civil or criminal proceedings.
However, it is worth mentioning that if you are not intoxicated, it is typically best to consent to a breath test. After all, a refusal will still result in the loss of your license, even if you are sober.
If you have been charged with OUI/DUI or accused of refusing a breath test, it is always advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced legal professional to help you navigate the complex web of administrative hearings and criminal proceedings.