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DUI in West Virginia
What is a DUI in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, a DUI refers to the crime of driving under the influence. A DUI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the offense.
Persons charged with a DUI may face penalties such as jail time, fines, and the suspension of their driver's license. Multiple DUIs and DUIs that result in accidents cause injury or death often attract more severe penalties. A person can be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs. DUI offenders in West Virginia will likely have the offense included in their West Virginia criminal record, affecting their ability to get jobs and housing.
In West Virginia, a DUI lawyer can help offenders navigate their legal process and defend their rights.
What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, a DUI or driving under the influence is typically considered a misdemeanor offense, while a DWI (driving while intoxicated) is sometimes regarded as a felony offense. The primary difference between both charges is the blood alcohol content (BAC) level at which an individual is considered to be impaired. For a DUI charge, the BAC limit is 0.08%. For a DWI charge, the BAC limit is 0.15%.
West Virginia DUI Laws
West Virginia DUI laws are codified in the state's code of statutes. The specific laws and penalties related to DUI are outlined in Chapter 17C of the West Virginia code.
West Virginia has a "per see" law for blood alcohol concentration (BAC). It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Persons pulled over and found to have a BAC above this level will be arrested for DUI.
Chapter 17C of the West Virginia code of statutes also outlines the penalties for drunk driving offenses. The penalties for DUI in West Virginia depend on the specific circumstances of the case but usually include jail time, fines, and the suspension or revocation of the driver's license.
Persons convicted of DUI may also be required to complete a state-approved alcohol education and treatment program.
The penalties for DUI in West Virginia become more severe with each subsequent conviction. Hence, if a motorist is convicted of DUI more than once, they will face increasingly harsh penalties.
DUI Penalties in West Virginia
In West Virginia, driving under the influence (DUI) is a severe offense. The state has strict laws and penalties for those caught driving while intoxicated. The penalties for DUI in West Virginia depend on the circumstances of the crime and the offender's prior history.
Persons convicted of a DUI in West Virginia may face jail time, a driver's license suspension, and hefty fines.
The maximum jail time for a first-time DUI offense in West Virginia is six months. The minimum jail time is 48 hours. For persons convicted of a second DUI offense, the maximum jail time increases to one year. The minimum jail time for a second DUI offense is ten days.
Driver's License Suspension
Persons convicted of DUI in West Virginia may have their driver's licenses suspended for 45 days. For second-time offenders, their driver's licenses may be suspended for up to one year, while third-time offenders may receive a 2-year suspension.
The fine for a first-time DUI offense in West Virginia is $100. However, this amount increases with each subsequent violation; hence, the penalty for a second DUI offense is $1,000, while the fine for a third DUI offense may be $3,000 or more.
What Happens When You Get a DWI in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, it is against the law to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Persons who are caught driving while intoxicated (DWI) are subject to penalties including fines, jail time, and the loss of their driver's license.
The consequences of a DWI depend on several factors, such as the motorist's blood alcohol content (BAC), their criminal history, and whether anyone was injured as a result of the violation.
Generally, a first-time DWI offense is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Offenders will also have their driver's license suspended for six months. If their BAC was 0.15% or higher, they might be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
A second DWI offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000. The offender's driver's license will also be suspended for one year. If their BAC was 0.15% or higher, they would be required to install an ignition interlock device.
A third DWI offense is punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. This is in addition to the license suspension and installing an ignition interlock device.
What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in West Virginia?
When an individual is arrested for their first DUI offense in West Virginia, the law enforcement officer will confiscate their driver's license and issue them a citation. The offender will then have to appear in court to face charges. If convicted, they might be subject to the following penalties:
- A fine of up to $500
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A driver's license suspension of up to 6 months
In addition, first-time DUI offenders may be required to attend an alcohol education or treatment program and install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. Repeat offenders will face more severe penalties, including longer jail sentences and more significant fines.
What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in West Virginia?
Second-time DUI offenders in West Virginia may face the following penalties:
- A fine of up to $1,000
- A jail sentence of between 48 hours to one year
- License suspension
- An ignition interlock device placed in the offender's vehicle least six months
Additionally, the offender's blood alcohol content (BAC) was. 15% or higher, or if they had a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, they might face aggravated penalties. These can include a longer jail sentence, a longer license suspension, and a larger fine.
What Happens After a Third DUI in West Virginia?
Persons who are convicted of a third DUI in West Virginia typically face the following penalties:
- A fine of up to $5,000
- A minimum jail sentence of 30 days
- A license suspension of 18 months
Additionally, offenders may be required to attend a treatment program and complete community service. Persons convicted of a fourth DUI will be classified as habitual offenders and face even harsher penalties.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in West Virginia?
A DUI in West Virginia will stay on the offender's record for at least five years and potentially much longer. The state keeps track of all driving offenses, and a DUI will show up on the motorist's record when potential employers, landlords, or insurance companies do a background check. If a person is convicted of a second DUI within ten years of the first offense, the penalties will be much more severe, so it is essential to avoid getting a second DUI.
DUI Expungement in West Virginia
Persons convicted of a DUI in West Virginia may be eligible to have their records expunged. Expungement seals criminal records so that the public can't access them. This means that potential employers, landlords, and others won't be able to see the DUI conviction.
To be eligible for expungement in West Virginia, offenders must meet the following criteria:
- They must have completed your sentence, including any probation or parole
- They must not have any other convictions on your record (excluding minor traffic offenses)
- They must not currently be facing any charges or pending investigations
Persons who meet all of the above criteria can file a petition for expungement with the court. The court will then review the case and decide whether or not to grant the request.
The offender's DUI conviction will be sealed from their public record if they are granted expungement. This means that potential employers and landlords won't be able to see it. However, please note that these records will still be accessible to law enforcement and other government agencies.
How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in West Virginia?
While jail time is certainly a possibility if a motorist is convicted of DUI in West Virginia, it is essential to keep in mind that each case is unique. The circumstances surrounding the arrest will play a role in ultimately determining the sentence.
If it is the first DUI offense and the offender has no prior criminal history, they may be eligible for probation instead of jail time. However, if the DUI results in an accident or injuries to others, they can expect to face harsher penalties that may include mandatory jail time.
What is the Average Cost of DUI in West Virginia?
The average cost of a DUI in West Virginia is $10,000. This includes attorney fees, court costs, and other associated expenses. In some cases, the cost can be much higher. For example, if the offender is convicted of DUI with a child in the car, the penalties and fines can be significantly increased. If the motorist causes an accident while driving under the influence, they may be facing additional charges and costs.
How Much is Bail for a DUI in West Virginia?
The amount of bail for a DUI in West Virginia can vary depending on the severity of the offense and the offender's prior driving record. Generally, first-time offenders will have a lower bail amount than those with multiple DUI offenses. The courts will also consider any aggravating factors, such as high blood alcohol levels or speeding, when setting bail. The average bail for a DUI in West Virginia is $500. However, some offenders may have to post bail in excess of $1,000.
How to Get My License Back After a DUI in West Virginia
If a motorist's license has been suspended or revoked due to a DUI in West Virginia, they may follow a specific process to have it reinstated:
- The first step is to contact the West Virginia DMV and schedule a hearing.
- At the hearing, the offender will need to prove that they have completed an alcohol treatment program and that they are no longer a danger to themselves or others on the road.
- Once the license is reinstated, the motorist may be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Ignition interlock devices require drivers to blow into a breathalyzer before starting their car. If any alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start.
How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in West Virginia?
A DUI can negatively affect many aspects of the offender's life in West Virginia. If a motorist is convicted of a DUI, they may face jail time, lose their driver's license, and be required to pay expensive fines. Offenders may also have difficulty finding employment or housing. A DUI conviction can also lead to higher insurance rates.
Can You Get Fired for a DUI in West Virginia?
Persons charged with a DUI in West Virginia may be wondering if they could lose their job as a result. The answer depends on the circumstances of the case and the employment agreement.
Generally speaking, an employer can fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, employers cannot fire employees for discriminatory reasons such as race, religion, or gender.
If the offender has a contract with their employer, it may spell out specific grounds for termination. A DUI charge will likely fall under "cause" for termination if it is included in the contract. Even if a DUI is not specifically mentioned in the agreement, the employer may still be able to fire you for it if it is considered to be misconduct. However, public employees in West Virginia may have some additional protections; for example, a person cannot be fired for exercising their right to free speech or reporting their employer's wrongdoing.
It is important to note that even if the motorist is not fired from their job, a DUI conviction can still hurt their career. For example, it may be difficult to find another job if the conviction is made public. The offender may also face disciplinary action from the professional licensing board.
How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in West Virginia?
Motorists who drive in West Virginia must be aware of the state's DUI checkpoint laws. While Sobriety Checkpoints are legal in West Virginia, there are some things that drivers need to know to avoid being arrested for driving under the influence.
The best way to avoid a DUI checkpoint is to know where they are and avoid them altogether. Unfortunately, this is not always possible or practical.
Motorist's who find themselves approaching a checkpoint can do a few things to decrease their chances of being arrested:
- First, motorists must ensure that they are not exhibiting any signs of intoxication. This includes slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or the smell of alcohol on your breath. Motorists displaying any of these signs are more likely to be pulled over.
- Second, the motorist must have their driver's license and registration ready to go.
- Third, be polite and cooperative with the officer. This may seem obvious, but rude or uncooperative persons are more likely to be arrested.
- Lastly, comply with the officer's request to alight from the vehicle or take a field sobriety test.
Which is Worse, DUI vs. DWI?
In West Virginia, there are two main types of drunk driving offenses: DUI and DWI. However, which is worse primarily depends on the situation. For instance, a DUI is usually more serious if it's a first offense and the driver had a high blood alcohol content (BAC). A DWI may be more severe if the driver was involved in an accident or had a previous DWI offense.
Generally speaking, a DUI is less severe than a DWI. But that doesn't mean it's not a serious offense. A DUI can still result in jail time, a suspended license, and other penalties.