Underage Operators

When an underage operator is arrested for Operating Under the Influence (OUI), he/she will be asked to consent to a chemical test to determine the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). If you refuse a chemical test, the arresting officer will immediately:

  • Take away your permit/license (if issued by Massachusetts) or right to operate
  • Provide you with a written notification of the suspension of your driver's license, effective immediately (no temporary driver's license will be issued)
  • Impound your motor vehicle for 12 hours
  • Notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) of the suspension within 24 hours

In Massachusetts, refusing to take a chemical test is not a criminal offense, but is instead a statutory requirement with an administrative suspension/revocation. The RMV will suspend/revoke your permit/license or right to operate immediately. There is no notification period.

Suspension Periods for Refusing a Chemical Test

Suspension periods vary by the number of prior Operating Under the Influence offenses you have incurred, including convictions or program assignments from out-of-state or any other jurisdiction. The following table lists the suspension periods for refusing a chemical test, depending on your past Operating Under the Influence history.

Violation: No Prior OUI's One Prior OUI Two Prior OUI's Three or More Prior OUI's Governing Law
Chemical Test Refusal 3 year suspension 3 year suspension * 5 year suspension * Lifetime suspension Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24(1)(f)(1)

* If any of the prior Operating Under the Influence convictions included Serious Bodily Injury, the suspension period is ten years. If any of the prior Operating Under the Influence convictions included Vehicular Homicide, the suspension period is lifetime.

Please Note: You are entitled to an RMV hearing for a chemical test refusal.

Additional Related Suspension

The RMV will also place a Youth Alcohol Program suspension/revocation on your permit/license or right to operate. Refer to the Youth Alcohol Program section for more information.

Hardship License Eligibility

An underage operator with a chemical test refusal suspension/revocation is not eligible to apply for a hardship license unless he/she is eligible for a first offender court disposition and the case has been resolved under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24D.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24D states that you may immediately, upon entering a program, apply to the Registrar for consideration of a hardship license.