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In West Virginia, it is illegal for all persons to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated on alcohol and/or drugs. Those who are caught violating this law will be charged with DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, a serious crime punishable with several penalties.

“Per se” DUI laws in West Virginia state that any motorist over the age of 21 who is operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher will be arrested and charged with DUI. For commercial vehicle drivers, the BAC limit is .04 percent and for minors (persons under the age of 21), the limit is .02 percent.

However, there is also a “common law” in which motorists may be arrested if they show physical signs of impairment. An officer may arrest a motorist if they were driving erratically, failed a field sobriety test, smelled of alcohol or any other sign that they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Common law arrests have nothing to do with BAC level and are based on physical impairment alone.

DUI offenders in West Virginia incur both administrative and criminal charges. Administrative charges pertain to the fate of the motorist’s license while criminal charges include fines and jail time. Penalties for DUI offenses are very strict and it is in the motorist’s best interest to hire legal help to ensure that their case runs quickly and smoothly.

Virginia DUI Penalties

The following penalties may be incurred by those convicted of DUI in West Virginia. Punishments increase in severity with each subsequent DUI offense as well as if the offender’s BAC level was above .15 percent or if they were transporting a minor (person under 16 years of age).

1st DUI Conviction

• Imprisonment
o Up to 6 months
2 days to 6 months if BAC above .15 percent
2 days to 13 months if minor in vehicle
• Fine
o $100-$500
o $100 to $1,000 if BAC above .15 percent
o $200 to $1,000 if minor in vehicle
• Driver’s license suspension
o 15 days
o 45 days if BAC above .15 percent
• May be required to install interlock ignition device

2nd DUI Conviction

• Imprisonment from 6 to 12 months
• Fine from $1,000 to $3,000
• Driver’s license suspended for 1 year
• Ignition interlock device required

3rd DUI Conviction

• Considered a Felony offense
• Imprisonment from 1 to 3 years
• Fine from $3,000 to $5,000
• Driver’s license suspended for 1 year
• Ignition interlock device required

Amendments to West Virginia DUI Laws

As of 2010, any DUI offender who had their license revoked will no longer have to appeal to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for reinstatement. Motorists must now turn to the Department of Transportation.

The amendment also allows first time DUI offenders the chance to have their records expunged if they participate in an ignition interlock device program.

West Virginia Implied Consent Law

As per the implied consent law in the state, any motorist in West Virginia must submit to a chemical test of their blood, urine or breath to determine level of intoxication. Those who refuse will have their driver’s license suspended for up to 1 year for a first refusal. Subsequent refusals will incur harsher punishments similar – if not worse – than actual DUI charges.

Working with a West Virginia DUI Attorney

A DUI conviction can completely ruin a person’s life, leading them to lose their jobs, have trouble finding a new one and can even affect a person in their financial endeavors. If you have been charged with driving under the influence in West Virginia, contact a skilled DUI lawyer right away for help. Your West Virginia DUI attorney will help get your charges lowered or completely wiped out altogether.

DUI lawyers investigate the incident to make sure you were not unfairly charged with driving under the influence. If they find any evidence to show that you were unjustly arrested, rest assured that they will bring it up in court. Many times, motorists are arrested for DUI based on officer suspicion alone or were issued a faulty breathalyzer exam. If this has happened to you, you can bet that your DUI attorney in West Virginia will not rest until your charges are dismissed

For the best possible outcome of your case, speak to an acclaimed team of DUI lawyers in West Virginia today to fight for your rights.