Whether or not to take the breathalyzer test is probably the most important decision that you will have to make after an OUI arrest. The answer depends on a variety of factors. For example, how much did you drink, when did you have your last drink, and what and when did you eat last are a few of the questions you will want to examine with an experienced Worcester criminal lawyer before making this decision.
Remember, just because you don’t feel intoxicated or impaired by the consumption of alcohol doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be under the .08 Massachusetts limit. It is close to impossible to say that I had a certain number of drinks so therefore I will be at a certain level. Unless you are absolutely sure that you had little or nothing to drink, taking the breathalyzer test is similar to putting your money down at the roulette table, a gamble, according to Worcester criminal lawyer Shane W. Surrette.
As a result, in most circumstances it is better not to take the breathalyzer test if your main concern is beating the criminal case. A breath test refusal, however, is not without its own significant consequences. For example, an adult first offender refusing the breathalyzer test will lose his/her license for 180 days. This period has to be served in addition to the statutory license loss of 45-90 days in the event that the government attains a conviction.
Similarly, if a not guilty finding enters after a first offense trial, a motion has to be submitted to the court for license reinstatement if the trial happens before the 180 day period ends. The court has authority to allow the motion for license reinstatement, but the court may also deny the motion.
In effect, the Commonwealth can’t force you to take the breathalyzer test, but they can make it a difficult choice based on the significant license ramifications. The license penalties also become more substantial based on the number of prior offenses.