When you refuse a Breathalyzer test in Massachusetts, there is a two-step process to appeal that suspension. The length of the suspension for refusing the Breathalyzer test will depend on the number of prior OUI offenses you have in your lifetime. See the table below to determine the potential length of your license suspension.
Number of prior OUI offenses in Massachusetts or any other State:
- No prior offenses: (assuming you are over 21) 180 days
- 1 prior offense: 3 year suspension
- 2 prior offenses: 5 year suspension
- 3 prior offenses: Lifetime suspension
Accordingly, a breathalyzer refusal suspension can be a very substantial suspension. The appeal of the suspension must be made within 15 days of your arrest, including weekends and holidays.
The appeal process begins at the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Boston. The hearings are held on the fourth floor where you will fill out a packet of documents requesting a hearing. Once the packet is filled out, you will see a hearings officer. Often, since the hearings are on a walk in basis, the hearing officer will not have all the information to decide the merits of the appeal, but will request a further date. You will also have an opportunity to obtain any evidence you would like the hearing officer to review. In many cases, there will not be additional evidence. In some cases where you are claiming you attempted to take the breath test, you may want to offer the booking video into evidence. However, in the majority of cases your argument against the suspension will be based on the officer not providing the proper documentation in support of the suspension.
In most cases, the RMV will affirm the suspension, requiring you to take the second step in the process, appeal to the district court. At the district court, you will argue that police officer did not follow Massachusetts OUI law in suspending your license and that the RMV hearing officer exceeded its authority under the statute by upholding the suspension.
If you have questions about appealing a breathalyzer refusal suspension, you can watch my YouTube videos where I address this topic and also review my website where I have further information on this issue.