In West Virginia, it is illegal for a person to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). Whether or not a driver gets charged with a DUI is based primarily on their blood alcohol content (BAC). .08 is the legal BAC limit, so a driver who tests above will automatically get charged with a DUI. If their BAC is below .08, but there is evidence that they cannot operate the vehicle safely, they will still get a DUI. Another way to get a DUI in West Virginia is to refuse the BAC test when pulled over. If a driver’s BAC is .15 or above, they will be charged with an aggravated DUI, and the penalties will be increased. The state also has a zero-tolerance policy and a BAC limit of .02 for drivers under 21.
A driver’s first DUI conviction in West Virginia carries a jail term of up to 6 months and a fine of $100 to $500. Their license will also be suspended for 15 days. With a first offense aggravated DUI, the jail term increases to a minimum of 2 days to a possible 6 months. The fine ranges from $100 to $1,000, and the drivers’ license will be suspended for 45 days. If there is a minor under the age of 16 in the car, the jail term can last up to 1 year, and the minimum fine is increased to $200.
DUI laws In West Virginia have shifted considerably over the last several years (this article has been updated in 2021), and more changes are coming.
DUI with a BAC of 0.08 percent -0.149%.
This is the simple first offense DUI charge in West Virginia. If convicted, there’s a possibility of up to 6 months of jail time and a fine of $100-$500. Jail time isn’t required for a conviction under this crime, but instead is up to the sentencing court, and lots of courts impose a prison penalty. There’s also a possible administrative license suspension of 90 days, minimum, and continuing until the mandatory DUI courses are finished and reinstatement fees are paid. The administrative license suspension can be lowered to 15 days when the driver must enroll in the ignition interlock program and partake in it for 120 days. After that, until completion of the compulsory DUI courses and payment of the mandatory reinstatement fee.
The state of West Virginia now also gives an alternate resolution of the charge in many surrounding states. For an arrest on this first crime charge on or after June 11, 2010, drivers are entitled to conditional probation and dismissal of the DUI.
To qualify for the DUI Deferral Program, the driver must be billed with an actual first offense DUI plus have a BAC of less than 0.15%, shouldn’t have a CDL (commercial driver’s license) at the moment of the arrest, and can not operate a commercial motor vehicle. The driver should then enter a conditional guilty plea to the DUI charge in court and draw (or not make in the first place) any obstacle to the proposed administrative license suspension. Following a compulsory 15-day permit suspension, the driver should then participate in the ignition interlock program for 165 days. After proof of completion is shown to the court after that period, the DUI is disregarded. Twelve months later, the driver could request the court to expunge the DUI arrest records, even though the DMV suspension records might not be expunged. One critical point is that although this arrest could be dismissed and expunged, another DUI / DWI arrest in ten years will be treated as another crime as the law enforcement agency can still see that the driver formerly completed the DUI Deferral Program.
Aggravated DUI (BAC of 0.15 percent or more).
This additionally applies to initial offense DUI arrests. If found guilty, the mandatory sentence is a minimum of 48 hours (of which 24 must be served in prison ) and up to 6 months in jail, and a fine of $200-$1,000. This offense carries a possible license suspension of 45 days with compulsory participation in the ignition interlock program to follow for 270 days.
DUI under 21 (BAC of 0.02 percent -0.079 percent ).
Since persons under 21 are prohibited from consuming alcohol in any respect, those under 21 and caught driving with a BAC between 0.02percent and 0.079% may still be charged with a DUI. If convicted, there’s no jail penalty, but there’s a mandatory fine of $25-$100. There’s also a compulsory administrative license suspension of 60 days or, in the Alternative, 30 times with involvement from the ignition interlock program for five weeks. After voluntarily entering into it, finishing the ignition interlock program may result in the criminal and DMV records expungement, providing a clean slate to people who complete this program. Contrary to the DUI Deferral Program, this doesn’t count as a prior event the driver has been arrested for DUI.
DUI resulting in injury.
This crime arises when a driver is under the influence and is involved in a collision where anyone apart from the driver suffers an accident. If convicted, the mandatory sentence isn’t less than 24 hours in prison and more than one year in jail, along with penalties of $200-$1,000. The potential administrative license suspension is for two full years. The license suspension can be reduced to 60 days if the driver participates in the ignition interlock program for one year, then 60-day suspension.
DUI resulting in death
Intoxicated drivers involved in an accident that results in a different Individual passing through an act of reckless disregard for others’ safety could be charged with a felony crime. If convicted, the mandatory sentence isn’t less than two years and not more than ten years in prison, together with a fine of $1,000-$3,000. The possible administrative license suspension is ten years or one year, followed by two years of compulsory participation in the ignition interlock program.
In the Alternative, based on the injury circumstances that resulted in another’s departure, the driver could be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony offense. Under this charge, a guilty verdict carries a sentence of not less than 90 days and not greater than one year in prison and a fine of $500-$1,000. Below this offense, the possible administrative license suspension is five years or six weeks, followed by two years of compulsory attendance in the ignition interlock program.
DWI / DUI with a minor in the car
When a driver is charged with a DUI and has a minor under the age of 16 years at the automobile at the moment, there will be some possible enhanced penalties. If convicted of the misdemeanor offense, the sentence isn’t less than 48 hours and not more than one year in prison, and fines of 200-1,000 USD. The administrative license suspension sentence is one year or two months, followed by ten weeks of compulsory participation in the ignition interlock program.
Second offense DUI
If a driver has been convicted of a DUI within the last ten years from the present Arrest Date, the police might charge another Offense DUI. If convicted, the sentencing penalty isn’t less than six weeks and not greater than one year in prison and an optional fine of $1,000-$3,000 (this means it’s up to the court whether to enforce a fine). The administrative license suspension will be one year followed by two years of compulsory participation in the ignition interlock program.
Third or subsequent offense DUI
Drivers who have been convicted of a DUI on more than one occasion within the last ten years prior to the date of the current arrest could be billed with 3rd or Subsequent Offense DUI, a felony in the state of West Virginia. If convicted, the punishment is 1 to 3 years in prison and an optional fine of $3,000 to $5,000. The administrative license suspension is annually followed by three years of compulsory participation in the ignition interlock program.
Refusal of a secondary chemical test
Rejecting to take the secondary chemical test (it is the test back in the police station) isn’t a criminal offense in West Virginia. There aren’t any jail or monetary fines associated with denying the trial. But suppose a driver is known to have intentionally refused to submit to the test. In that case, There’s another administrative license suspension punishment that is imposed on top of any possible original DWI license suspension.
The extra fine is a license suspension of 1 full year or 45 days followed by a compulsory one year of involvement in the ignition interlock program. If the driver is Arrested again for DUI and chooses to deny the secondary chemical test on This event, the license suspension is for ten years.
Alternatively, one year Followed by two full years of mandatory ignition interlock participation. Penalties For refusal, don’t apply for the rejection of the handheld breath test. These Penalties also run simultaneously, or at precisely the same time, as any inherent DUI Suspension, not back to back with an inherent DUI suspension.
DUI / DWI facts and statistics in West Virginia
- In 2017, 7 out of the 72 driving fatalities due to DUI / DWI were driven by drivers under the age of 21
- In the same year, 16 out of the 4,282 offenders caught for DUI / DWI were under the age of 18
- In 2018, 7 out of the 57 driving fatalities due to DUI / DWI were driven by drivers under the age of 21
- In the same year, 6 out of the 3,141 offenders caught for DUI / DWI were under the age of 18
source: responsibility.org, fbi.gov
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