OUI Chemical Test Refusals in Massachusetts

In 2005 Melanie’s Law was implemented in Massachusetts. With the implementation of Melanie’s Law came several increased OUI (Operating Under the Influence) related penalties. One area that saw change because of Melanie’s Law was increased penalties for OUI Chemical Test Refusals. For instance, suspensions for OUI Convictions are now to be served after any suspension for an OUI chemical test refusal. Additionally, suspensions on OUI Chemical Test Refusals occur immediately with no grace period. Below is a chart of the suspensions periods for Chemical Test Refusals.

Age of Driver Number of Prior OUIs Suspension Period
21+ None 180 days
One Three years
Two Five years
Three or more Lifetime
Under 21 None Three years
One Three years
Two Five years
Three or more Lifetime
Any Prior DWI Serious Bodily Injury Ten years
Prior Vehicular Homicide Lifetime

Of some consideration is the fact that you are entitled to a Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) hearing about the Chemical Test Refusal. In this RMV hearing it must be done within 15 days of the refusal, there are no exceptions.

Additionally, the RMV Chemical Test Refusal Hearing is only done at the Boston RMV Office. Only three issues can be considered at the hearing 1) Did the officer have reasonable grounds for the OUI arrest, 2) you were not under arrest, and 3) you did not actually refuse the chemical test.

The third consideration requires that you had notice of the possible repercussions of refusal, but just being informed that your license will be suspended for at least 180 days will suffice. It is important to remember that you have a right to be represented by an attorney at the hearing.

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