Most Massachusetts DUI lawyers would tell you not to take a breathalyzer. A breathalyzer is becoming increasingly more difficult to suppress as evidence in Massachusetts. If the police officer or state trooper doesn’t follow the correct protocols then the test may be jeopardized and ultimately suppressed by a judge. However, it is becoming increasingly rare that a judge will suppress a breathalyzer.
To make matters more complicated most people find it very difficult to refuse the breathalyzer. First, let’s be honest when you have been drinking you are not thinking with a clear mind. Second, if you refuse a breathalyzer your license will be suspended. For a first offense DUI your license will be suspended for 180 days. If you fail the breathalyzer your license will be suspended for 30 days. Therefore, most people will opt to take the breathalyzer because they don’t want their license to be suspended for 180 days. And finally, if you ask to talk to a lawyer prior to taking the breathalyzer the police will count that as a refusal. The time that you must wait to get your license back if you decide not to take the breathalyzer is half a year. If you decide to take the breathalyzer and fail is about a month. The Massachusetts legislature changed the law to increase the suspension time if you refuse the breathalyzer. The new law was created to encourage more people to take the breathalyzer.
Without the ability to talk to a DUI lawyer prior to taking the breathalyzer you really don’t know what your rights are. For example, the police don’t have to tell you that your refusal to take a breathalyzer is something that can’t be mentioned at trial. The police also don’t have to tell you that the breathalyzer is usually the strongest piece of drunk driving evidence against a person at trial.
The breathalyzer that Massachusetts DUI lawyers are concerned about at trial is the one that is taken at the police station. There are two types of breathalyzers in Massachusetts. The first type is known as the portable breathalyzer. The portable breathalyzer is usually used during a DUI stop. The machine can be held in the palm of the officer’s hand. The test usually consists of the DUI suspect blowing into a small tube. The portable breathalyzer uses something called fuel cell technology.
The fuel cell technology has not shown to be a reliable way to consistently test the amount of blood alcohol in a person’s blood. One of the reasons is that the portable breathalyzer tends to be affected by the breath alcohol in a person’s mouth. Therefore, the court doesn’t allow portable breathalyzer readings to be entered into evidence. The breathalyzer test that is allowed to be admitted into the evidence is the one that is given at the police station. The stationary breathalyzer uses infrared technology which the courts have ruled is admissible in a drunk driving case.
Even though it is good for your DUI case if you refuse a breathalyzer, it is no surprise to anyone that an increasing number of people are taking the breathalyzer. When the Massachusetts legislature crafted the new laws they wanted to encourage more individuals to take the breathalyzer. It is not easy, but the smart thing to do is to refuse a breathalyzer and call a Massachusetts DUI lawyer right away.