When a Massachusetts law enforcement officer stops your car and believes you may be under the influence, he or she may ask you to take a breath or blood test to assess your degree of intoxication. The officer may pressure you to submit to such a test because a positive breath or blood test would be strong evidence against you.
However, despite what many people think, you do not have to submit to such a test. In fact, refusing to take a chemical test may benefit you in the long run if you wind up facing a charge of driving under the influence or operating under the influence.
Refusing a chemical test
In Massachusetts, refusing a law enforcement officer’s request to take a chemical test leads to administrative, rather than criminal, penalties. If you refuse an officer’s request to take a chemical test, expect that officer to immediately take your driver’s license. The officer also must give you a written notification dictating that your license has undergone suspension or revocation, effective immediately.
Losing your license for refusing a chemical test
How long you stand to lose your license for refusing a chemical test depends on whether you have any other drunk driving offenses in your driving history. However, the suspension period may last as little as 180 days or as long as your lifetime.
While losing your ability to drive for a period may create challenges, those challenges may pale in comparison to those you may face if your drunk driving charge leads to a conviction.