The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level for Massachusetts drivers over 21 years of age is .08%.To determine your BAC, a police officer may ask you to take a breath or blood (if you taken to the hospital) test. The breathalyzer test is the most common.
Whether you take the breathalyzer and test over the legal limit or refuse to take it at all, you can face an automatic license suspension. If you fail the breathalyzer test, you will be sentenced to a 30-day license suspension. If you refuse to take the test and are over 21, you face a 180-day to life, depending if you have prior offenses, license suspension.
To help ensure that the breathalyzer test is accurate, the breath test operator is required to observe the individual arrested for OUI for 15 minutes before administering the test to ensure he or she does not consume anything, vomit, or belch. These things could artificially inflate the results of the breathalyzer test. If the individual was not observed for 15 minutes, an OUI attorney could successfully challenge the results of the test.
Other factors could impact the results of the breathalyzer test. Even medical conditions, such as acid reflux and diabetes, as well as dental ailments, such as periodontal disease or gingivitis, could lead to an inaccurate test result. An OUI defense attorney can thoroughly investigate your breathalyzer test to determine if something other than alcohol consumption led to your reading.
Unlike many other states, Massachusetts law prohibits the prosecutor from mentioning that you refused to take the breathalyzer test and your refusal cannot be used as an admission of guilt. This means that the prosecution must rely on the officer's observations about your driving, behavior, and appearance at the time of your arrest as well as your performance on the field sobriety tests (if applicable).
The experienced OUI defense attorneys at The Jones & Geraghty have received and given significant training on the Massachusetts breathalyzer test. Thanks to our knowledge, we have helped many clients successfully fight their OUI charges.