Breath & Blood Tests

Get Guidance from an OUI Lawyer in Western Massachusetts

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you will be charged with operating under the influence if your BAC is .08 percent or greater. To test a driver's BAC, the arresting officer will ask you to consent to a blood or breath test. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, and BAC can be measured by having blood drawn and tested in a professional laboratory. If you consent to a breath test, the officer will have you breathe into a device such as a breathalyzer, which is a portable machine that measures the concentration of alcohol in your breath. You will be charged with an OUI if either test shows a BAC of .08 or greater if you are over the age of 21 or .02 or greater if you are under the age of 21.

Need counsel after an arrest? Contact (413) 258-7371 to speak with a Western Massachusetts OUI attorney. Currently, our firm is involved in a class action suit involving the breath test. We are not afraid to challenge these matters.

Melanie's Law and Chemical Test Refusal

The officer cannot test your BAC without your consent. You will be penalized for refusing to take a chemical test and your license will immediately be taken, but it will not count as an OUI offense on your record. The implementation of Melanie's Law in 2005 greatly enhanced the penalties for refusing a chemical test, eliminated the allowance of a temporary, 15-day license for the driver, and mandates the driver's vehicle be impounded for twelve hours. A driver who refuses to take a chemical test will receive the following suspension, depending on which category he or she belongs to:

Drivers Over Age 21

  • No Prior OUI Offenses: Suspension of 180 days
  • One Prior OUI Offense: Suspension of 3 years
  • Two Prior OUI Offenses: Suspension of 5 years
  • Three or More Prior OUI Offenses: Lifetime suspension

Drivers Age 18 to 21

  • No Prior OUI Offenses: 3 years + 180 days
  • One Prior OUI Offense: 3 years + 180 days
  • Two Prior OUI Offenses: 5 years + 180 days
  • Three or More Prior OUI Offenses: Lifetime suspension

Drivers Under Age 18

  • No Prior OUI Offenses: 3 years + 1 year
  • One Prior Offense: 3 years + 1 year
  • Two Prior Offenses: 5 years + 1 year
  • Three or More Prior Offenses: Lifetime suspension

The additional 180 days of license suspension are intended to get underage drivers to enter an alcohol education program. Underage drivers may be able to have the additional 180 days of suspension waived or have the 1 year of suspension reduced to 180 days if it is their first offense and they complete an approved alcohol education program. If the driver fights the charges and wins, he or she will still be required to complete an alcohol education program before their license can be reinstated.

Speak with an Experienced Western Massachusetts OUI Attorney

If you refused a chemical test, you can challenge your suspension before the RMV within 15 days if you can effectively prove before the law that your license should not have been suspended. Failure to pass a field sobriety or chemical test does not mean you will automatically be convicted. In order to fight against either charge, you will need the representation of a skilled and knowledgeable Western Massachusetts OUI lawyer.

We have defended clients against OUI and OUI-related clients for decades, and we may be able to help you. When you are charged with operating under the influence or if your license was suspended for refusing a chemical test, your freedoms could be severely limited. We examine clients' cases to determine how we can best fight their violations and protect their rights. When facing such serious penalties, you need a lawyer who will aggressively defend you in court and before the RMV; you need The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C.

If you are facing OUI charges because of a failed chemical test, or if you refused a chemical test and your license was suspended, contact a DUI attorney in Western Massachusetts from our firm as soon as possible.