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What happens to me if I refuse to take a Breathalyzer test when pulled over?

Drivers in Massachusetts ought to be especially wary when they see those blue lights flash behind them, given the spotty track record of the Breathalyzers used to test for DUI violations by police departments across the Commonwealth. Sober, responsible drivers found themselves in a lot of trouble because of inaccurately prepared and used Breathalyzers.

Since 2017, numerous legal challenges and complaints have surfaced regarding the main Breathalyzer model used in the state, the Draeger 9510 Alcotest. There were widespread issues with the calibration of these machines. Despite knowing the calibrating errors by numerous police departments, the Massachusetts Office of Alcohol Testing allowed the practice to persist for years.

By late summer of 2018, district attorneys across the state filed for, and received, clearance to widen the evidentiary exclusion against the Draeger 9510 Alcotest. As such, about forty-thousand cases are affected.

In the meantime, however, Massachusetts police have been instructed to use more subjective means of determining intoxication. Police must rely on their personal discretion to assess a driver’s level of intoxication. Such evidence may be presented in court, but it is far from scientific.

In the chance that you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test in Massachusetts, be aware that you exercise your right to refuse the test in exchange for surrendering your driving privileges for at least six months for first time offenses. Additionally, if this is your first time accused of DUI, your car will be impounded for twelve hours after your refusal to test, as part of “Melanie’s Law.”

If you are facing a DUI case, or believe your case is affected by the Draeger 9510 Alcotest controversy, call our office today for a consultation.

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