Penalties for refusal to take a breath test. As many readers may know, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has been treating “continued without a finding” (“CWOF”) dispositions the same as convictions for the purposes of heaping extra license suspension time onto drivers who elect to refuse to blow into the cops’ breath testing gadgets after an OUI arrest. This seemed illogical to nearly all those outside the Registry of Motor Vehicles, because the relevant Massachusetts OUI laws, General Laws Chapter 90, section 24 (1)(f)(1) requires that the driver have a prior conviction on her record for the penalty enhancements for a second offense refusal to plague her.
Although the statute clearly required a conviction for these RMV imposed penalty enhancements, the RMV continued to suspend drivers charged with a second offense OUI, where the prior offense was a CWOF disposition, for 3 years for refusing to blow into the breath test box. Fortunately, the Supreme Judicial Court rendered an opinion on May 17, 2012, Commonwealth v. Souza, that ruled that “convicted” means “convicted”, and therefore the Reegistry will not be able to suspend drivers as long as they would like to suspend them any more.
If your license has been suspended, or is about to be suspended, for any driving under the influence charge, whether in the Salem District Court or any other New Hampshire Court, call me today at 1-603-893-0074 for a free initial consultation. I look forward to speaking with you.
Law Office of Mark Stevens
5 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079