West Virginia DUIs and DWIs
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State law enforcement agencies issue severe DUI penalties in West Virginia to motorists who drive a vehicle with an illegal amount of alcohol in their system or who refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test. Drivers can be charged with a DUI or DWI for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration as low as .05 percent, as this BAC level is sufficient evidence that their ability to drive is impaired.
The severity of WV DUI consequences depends on several factors, including the BAC level at the time of testing, the number of prior violations on the offender’s driving record and more. Learn how to deal with drunk driving charges in WV by reading the following sections.
DUI Citations and Convictions in West Virginia
Motorists facing a DUI or DWI arrest in West Virginia can be convicted of driving under the influence and incur tough punishments as a result. Arrests are usually followed by a request to submit to a chemical test for the purposes of determining the blood alcohol concentration in the offender’s body. Drivers who refuse Breathalyzer testing, as well as those who fail it, will be subject to a license revocation. Those with a DUI or DWI conviction on their driving history will also be subject to steep fines and jail sentences, in addition to a revocation of their driving privileges.
West Virginia Under the Influence Violations and Penalties
WV DUI penalties generally depend on the motorists’ age, as well as the existence of any previous offenses of this type. If any aggravated charges surround the DUI violation, such as a car crash resulting in bodily injuries or death to another person or driving with a BAC higher than .15 percent, the issued punishments will be harsher. Per West Virginia DUI law, adult drivers can be penalized for driving with a BAC at .08 percent or higher, though severe punishments may apply in situations where a driver operates a vehicle with a BAC lower than .08.
First DUI Offense
Motorists in violation of the set West Virginia drunk driving laws for the first time may incur both administrative and criminal penalties. For example, drivers convicted of a DUI offense for the first time due to operating with a BAC lower than .15 percent will incur a fine ranging between $100 and $500, a jail sentence of up to 6 months and a driving license revocation of a minimum 15 days.
If a conviction results from operating with a BAC higher than .15 (an aggravated DUI violation), licensees will face a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in prison and a 45-day license revocation.
Second DUI Offense
DUI penalties in West Virginia are much stricter for licensees convicted of a DUI for the second time. Therefore, drivers convicted of a second DUI charge will be penalized with a fine between $1,000 and $3,000, up to 12 months in prison and a one-year license revocation. Drivers younger than 21 years of age violating these driving laws for the second time will be subject to a maximum fine of $500, 24 hours in jail and a 60-day license revocation or until they turn 18, whichever is greater.
Third and Subsequent DUI Offenses
Getting a DWI conviction in WV for the third time may result in a fine from $3,000 to $5,000, an imprisonment sentence between 1 and 3 years and a revoked driver’s license for 1 year. Similar penalties will be imposed on motorists with more than three convictions on their driving record.
Note: DUI and DWI offenders with a license revocation imposed by the state Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may be able to avoid long license revocation periods by waiving their right to an administrative hearing and participating in the Interlock Program. Participation in the Alcohol Test and Lock Program (Interlock) is mandatory for certain types of DUI violations.
Drinking and Driving in West Virginia
Driving under the influence in West Virginia is punishable by law, as alcohol and/or drugs are a major cause of vehicle accidents leading to injuries and fatalities. Consuming alcohol before or while behind the wheel affects a motorist’s abilities to drive safely, as vision and judgment are impaired. Therefore, state agencies administer strict laws and issue tough consequences in an attempt to deter drivers from drinking while driving. Traffic violations may be added to charges on top of DUI violations.
West Virginia DUI Attorneys
Seeking help from an experienced West Virginia DUI lawyer is a step that should not be avoided by drivers who want to understand their charges and try to reduce their sentences. A good impaired driving lawyer can provide licensees with an explanation of the applicable laws and regulations and help them prepare a strong defense for trial. Though a DUI attorney may not be able to help drivers avoid a conviction on their record, he or she can still advise them on how to minimize the severity of their sentence.
Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in West Virginia
Regardless of whether you have incurred a WV DUI drivers license suspension or revocation for test failure or refusal, you will need to initiate a reinstatement procedure to drive again. To reinstate a DUI suspended license, you will need to address the state DMV and may be required to complete the following steps:
- Wait out the imposed revocation period.
- Pay the applicable restoration fees and other costs.
- Participate in a prescribed safety and treatment program (if applicable).
- Enroll in the Alcohol Test and Lock Program (if required).
Note: To verify whether other DUI and DWI restoration requirements apply to your case, including submitting proof of financial responsibility, contact a nearby DMV location in West Virginia.
West Virginia Alcohol Awareness Classes
Participation in WV DUI classes may also be required for restoring a revoked drivers license after committing a DUI. Drivers who enroll in a DUI course, also referred to as a safety and treatment program, are expected to understand the negative influence of alcohol and drugs on safe driving habits and avoid such offenses in the future. In addition to these classes, licensees can also complete a traffic school course to learn more about the danger of drinking while driving.
West Virginia Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI
Under the strict drunk driving laws in WV, motorists will be charged with impaired driving for a BAC of more than .05 percent. Drivers older than 21 with a BAC at .08 percent or higher are presumed to be operating a vehicle under the influence and can incur tough penalties as a result. Per the zero-tolerance DUI law, motorists younger than 21 are prohibited from driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system. Licensees will also be sentenced with a revoked driving license for violating the Implied Consent Law by refusing to submit to a chemical test.
Hardship License in West Virginia
Most U.S. states offer motorists with a DUI drivers license suspension the option to obtain a restricted license provided they meet the eligibility criteria. This credential generally allows one to drive a vehicle to specific locations and under certain circumstances only until he or she completes the suspension period and initiates the process of reinstating driving privileges. If you have a suspended license, contact a local DMV office to check whether or not you may apply for a restricted credential at the moment.