In West Virginia, you can be charged with driving under the influence if you are driving and have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher; if you are under the age of 21, the legal limit is .02. West Virginia DUI Laws are per se, meaning that even if your driving was not impaired, you can still be charged with a DUI based on your BAC alone. State law also prohibits people from driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription drugs if they impair someone’s ability to drive.
Felony DUI Charges
The first two times that someone is charged with a DUI, the charges are considered to be misdemeanors. After the second conviction, any additional charges within a 10-year period will be felony DUI charges. Additionally, if someone’s actions while driving while intoxicated lead to the death of an individual, the DUI charges will be felony charges.
While people will only face felony DUI charges for repeat convictions and causing the death of an individual, there are several ways that someone may face stiffer penalties for a misdemeanor charge. According to West Virginia DUI Laws, individuals with a BAC of .15 or higher can be charged with an aggravated DUI that carries a mandatory minimum 48 hours in jail and a maximum of six months. Their maximum fine is also $1,000, double the normal first DUI conviction fine. If a person is injured by someone who was drinking and driving, they must spend at least 24 hours in jail and no more than one year, and they also face fines up to $1,000 as well as a two year license suspension.
West Virginia DUI Laws prevent someone from getting out of a DUI by refusing to take a BAC chemical test. For a first-time refusal, the offender’s license will be suspended for a year; however, these individuals have the option of having an interlock device installed in their vehicle for a year after 45 days of suspension. Penalties for a second and third refusal increase dramatically. A second refusal can lead to a five- to 10-year license suspension, and a third can cause a lifetime suspension.
Ignition Interlock Devices
An ignition interlock device prevents a car from starting until someone has provided a breath sample that is under the legal limit. For a first time DUI conviction, these devices offer a way to restore driving privileges before a license suspension is up. With repeat convictions, it becomes mandatory for a period of time after a license suspension is lifted.
Reinstating a License
Before someone’s license can be reinstated, they must complete a safety and treatment program as well as providing an SR22 form to the DMV. The form proves that an individual has current automobile insurance, and if the insurance lapses, the company must alert the DMV. The form must be carried for three years following reinstatement.
Changes to West Virginia DUI Laws in 2008
With SB535, West Virginia added a the provision for aggravated DUI in 2008. The legislation created stricter punishment for individuals caught driving with a BAC of .15 or higher. Previously, these individuals were subject to the same penalties as other DUI offenders. The state bill also eliminated the minimum 24-hour jail sentence for first-time DUI offenders who register below .15 BAC.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In West Virginia?
In Virginia, a person may be cited for driving under the influence (DUI) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent. A person’s BAC is measured by law enforcement officials, who administer a breath or blood test after a traffic stop.
The legal alcohol limit of .08 percent applies to passenger motorists of legal drinking age. People operating commercial vehicles are subject to a stricter limit of .04 percent, and drivers under 21 can be charged if a BAC is .02 percent or greater.
Penalties for DUI may include:
- For a first offense, a person may face a jail sentence of six months, a fine of $500 and a license revocation period of 90 days.
- For a second conviction, an individual may be sentenced to one year in jail, receive a fine of $3,000 and loss of driving privileges for one year.
- For a third or subsequent offense, the convicted driver could be jailed for three years, issued a fine of $5,000 and assessed a license revocation period of a year.
Some DUI offenses are deemed more serious than others. For example, fines may be enhanced if a BAC is .15 percent or higher. This may also be the case if another person is injured in an accident or a child is endangered.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In West Virginia
All people convicted of driving under the influence are subject to license revocation. Installation an ignition interlock device (IID) is a condition of reinstating driving privileges.
People who participate in the ignition interlock program:
- Must cover all costs related to installing and servicing the device
- Are subject to additional penalties in the event of device tampering or a failed breath test
- Are required to participate in an alcohol education course
Additional conditions for drivers installing an IID typically apply. The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles administers the Motor Vehicle Alcohol and Test Program, which details many provisions for compliance.
West Virginia DUI Penalties
In West Virginia, individuals may be charged with a DUI if a chemical test indicates that their blood-alcohol concentration meets or exceeds .08 percent following a police stop. The state does not require proof that someone’s driving was impaired as a result of alcohol, but it must be established that the person’s BAC exceeds the legal limit. As West Virginia is a zero-tolerance state, any individual younger than 21 with any measurable amount of alcohol in his or her system may also face DUI penalties.
1st DUI Conviction Penalties
The West Virginia DUI penalties someone may face for a first conviction depend on whether his or her BAC was at or above .15 percent. Those with a BAC between .08 and .14 percent may face up to six months in jail and fines of between $100 and $500 in addition to court costs. An individual’s license will be suspended for six months, but after 15 days, the person may be eligible to participate in the state’s Test & Lock Program and have an ignition interlock device installed in his or her vehicle, and it must remain for 125 days.
If someone’s BAC met or exceeded .15 percent, the person may face a minimum of two days in jail and a maximum of six months. Along with court costs, these individuals may have to pay between $100 and $1,000 in fines. License suspension also lasts for six months, and driving privileges may be restored via the Test & Lock Program, but there is a 45-day waiting period, and the IID must remain in the vehicle for a year.
2nd DUI Conviction Penalties
A second conviction may result in jail time of no less than six months and no longer than a year, and convicted individuals will also have to pay fines of between $1,000 and $3,000 as well as court costs. Their license may be suspended for up to 10 years as a result of a second DUI conviction, but they may be eligible to take part in the Test & Lock Program after the first year of suspension. An interlock device must be used for two years following a second DUI conviction.
3rd DUI Conviction Penalties
For those who have been convicted of two other DUIs within a 10-year period, a third conviction is considered a felony. The West Virginia DUI penalties that accompany this conviction include a jail sentence ranging from one and three years in addition to responsibility for court costs and fines of up to $5,000 but no lower than $3,000. It is possible that their licenses could be suspended for the rest of their lives if they are convicted for a third time, but the minimum suspension is one year, and the option of taking advantage of the Test & Lock Program may still be presented to these individuals. They will be required to keep an interlock device in their automobile for three years in order to continue driving.
Before someone’s license will be reinstated in West Virginia following a DUI conviction, he or she must complete a safety and treatment program as well as provide a West Virginia SR-22 insurance form. Individuals will also be required to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DMV.