If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you may be wondering how long is my license suspended? There are actually two kinds of license suspensions that can result from an arrest for DUI:
- A Breathalyzer Suspension
- A Suspension After the Trial
These suspensions are separate but cumulative. Breathalyzer suspensions are automatically imposed by the Massachusetts RMV when a driver either refuses a breath test or fails one by registering Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) above .08% (or .02% for drivers under 21). Such suspensions are imposed regardless of the outcome of the separate criminal DUI case goes through the court.
If you are convicted of DUI in the criminal case—or if you agree to a Continuance Without a Finding and a 24D alternative disposition—there will be a second, unrelated suspension laid down as part of the sentence. This suspension can be avoided if you are found innocent or have your case dismissed.
Court suspensions only begin after any remaining breath-test-related suspension period has been served. However, a positive outcome in court does not automatically eliminate an earlier breath test suspension. You will need a court order from the judge to reverse a chemical test refusal suspension after a Not Guilty or Dismissal of the OUI charge.
It’s My First DUI...How Long Is My License Suspended?
You can find the total duration of your license suspension in Massachusetts by adding up the applicable durations below:
How Long Is My License Suspended For Breath Test Failure?
- Driver Over 21: 30 days
- Driver 18-21: 30 days plus 180 days (from the Junior Operator Law)
- Driver Under 18: 30 days plus 1 year (from the Junior Operator Law)
You do have the right to appeal this suspension before the district court where DUI charges are pending. It can’t be appealed at the RMV.
How Long Is My License Suspended For Breath Test Refusal?
- Driver Over 21: 180 days
- Driver Under 21: 3 years
Refusal suspensions can be appealed at the RMV within 15 days of the arrest. It’s critical to get immediate legal help preparing for your appeal hearing. There are three things you can challenge to win an appeal:
- Whether there were reasonable grounds for the DUI arrest
- Whether you were actually placed “under arrest”
- Whether you truly refused the breath test.
However, these appeals are very difficult to win given the limited grounds you can base them upon and the low burden of proof required for the RMV.
How Long Is My License Suspended For First DUI Conviction?
Mass. General Law hands down a 1-year license suspension for a first DUI conviction (regardless of age). This period begins after any existing breath test suspension has concluded. However, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license after 3 months.
How Long Is My License Suspended With a 24D “First Offender” Disposition?
Many first DUI offenders are sentenced under the 24D Disposition, which includes a more lenient license suspension of 45-90 days (unless you are under 21), along with a requirement to complete a qualifying alcohol education program.
Underage drivers who are given the 24D Disposition are given a 210-day license suspension and must complete an alcohol education program assignment to get their license back.
Seek Legal Help Right Away
It can be challenging to get by without a driver’s license. You might have to find alternative transportation for work, school, childcare, and other important aspects of your life. However, there may be legal avenues to reduce the duration of a license suspension, win an appeal, or earn a hardship license so that you can get on with your life with the least interruption. Don’t wait it out—consult with an experienced Massachusetts DUI attorney right away.