Beckley, WV- Tougher penalties for driving under the influence are one step closer to becoming a reality in West Virginia as House Bill 2664 passed earlier this month and is expected to pass the Senate. So, drunken drivers in the state could be facing steeper penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Also known as “Andrea and Willy’s Law,” H.B. 2664 will make penalties from DUI tougher convicted offenders. Under the law, if it passes the Senate, the penalty for a misdemeanor first-offense for DUI includes a 3- to 9- month jail sentence, a $1,000 to $5,000 fine. Currently, DUI first-time DUI offender face a maximum of 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

H.B. 2664 also increases penalties for second and subsequent DUI convictions. Causing a fatal accident while intoxicated now carries a penalty of three to 15 years in jail along with a costly fine.

The legislation is named after two people who were killed in drunken driving accidents. Andrea Bailes was killed in 2011 when a motorists with eight previous DUI charges struck her. Willy Shuman died after drunken driver struck the car he was riding in.

This is the third time this legislation has been introduced, but the bill’s sponsor Del. Kelli Sobonya (R-Charleston) and co-sponsor Del. Jim Butler (R-Gallipolis Ferry) are confident the bill will pass the third time around.

“I think it’ll go through the Senate without any trouble,” Butler said last week, according to My Daily Register.

There are legal, financial, occupational and personal reasons to fight a DUI charge. Your best chance of avoiding a DUI conviction is to present a strong defense built by one of our accomplished West Virginia DUI attorneys.

Whether you are facing your first DUI or a subsequent offense, you need expert legal help with your case. Unfortunately too many people don’t realize this. They have this arrogant notion that they don’t need to spend money on an attorney. Too often DUI offenders think they can negotiate for a plea bargain on their own or convince a judge they deserve leniency. But how could you? You haven’t been taught how to negotiate with prosecutors, you don’t have a comprehensive knowledge of West Virginia DUI laws, and you have no idea what an effective defense looks like. Watching every episode of Law & Order doesn’t mean you have legal skills, and beating a DUI wrap requires skills. Before you make a huge mistake, you need to consult with a DUI attorney.

An attorney knows how to challenge the evidence against you and present a convincing defense so that you have a better chance of avoiding a DUI conviction. If you have been charged with a DUI in West Virginia, don’t hesitate to contact one of our defense attorneys serving Beckley. Contact them as soon as you can so they can get to work on your defense. The sooner you act, the sooner you can put your mind at ease and move on with your life.