West Virginia DUI Laws and Penalties

How West Virginia defines “driving under the influence” (DUI) and the consequences of an arrest and conviction.

In West Virginia, a motorist can get a DUI for driving while being in an impaired state. This includes being under the influence of any drugs or alcohol or having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. This BAC threshold is reduced to .02% for those less than 21 years old and .04% for commercial drivers.

Jail Time and Fines for West Virginia DUI Convictions

The minimum and maximum jail time and fines you’ll face for a DUI conviction in West Virginia depend on how many prior convictions you have and the circumstances of the offense. Here are the possible jail sentences and fines for a first, second, and third DUI conviction.

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

Jail Time

Up to 6 months (minimum 48 hours if .15% BAC or greater)

6 months to 1 year

2 to 5 years

Fines

$100 to $500 ($200 to $1,000 if .15% BAC or greater)

$1,000 to $3,000

$3,000 to $5,000

These jail times cannot be suspended through probation, but a first-time offender may be eligible for a dismissal through the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program.

License Suspension/Revocation for a West Virginia DUI

All recorded DUI convictions are reported to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for mandatory license revocation. However, the officer will also submit the BAC test results to the DMV. Thus, even if a conviction is avoided, the state may still revoke a driver’s license based upon a BAC test failure. The revocation periods for first, second, and third convictions/test failures are:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

Revocation Period

6 months

10 years (possible reinstatement after 5 years)

Lifetime

A first-time offender may be eligible for a reduced revocation period through the participation in the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program and using an ignition interlock device (IID).

All licensees must complete the required substance abuse evaluation, educational courses, and recommended treatment before being eligible for reinstatement.

West Virginia’ Implied Consent Laws

West Virginia’s “implied consent” laws specify that all motorists agree to take a blood or breath test if lawfully arrested for driving under the influence. Motorists who refuse testing face mandatory license revocation. A first-time refusal will result in a one-year revocation, which may be reduced with the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program. A second refusal will result in a ten-year revocation (with possible reinstatement after five years) and a third refusal will result in a lifetime driver’s license revocation.

Calculating Prior DUIs

In West Virginia, only DUIs and license revocations within the last ten years will be considered for license revocation and sentence enhancement.

Reducing a West Virginia DUI Charge

West Virginia has very strict penalties for DUI, especially for repeat offenders. However, there are many options to reduce or eliminate certain penalties. It’s best to visit with an experienced DUI attorney to determine how to best protect your interests.

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