For the sake of public safety in West Virginia, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is strictly outlawed. Motorists who are found guilty of this offense face a myriad of punishments ranging from serving time in jail to paying steep civil fines.
Drivers who want to avoid being charged with DUI in West Virginia need to be aware of what the legal allowable blood alcohol content limits are in the state. They also need to know what kinds of penalties they can face if they are found guilty of DUI in West Virginia.
DUI in West Virginia
Like many states, West Virginia has a per se definition for DUI that involves driving with a blood alcohol content or BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher. This standard applies primarily to motorists who operate privately owned vehicles like passenger cars and trucks as well as motorboats and mopeds. It also pertains to drivers who are at least 21 years old and older.
The per se standard in West Virginia does not apply to drivers who are younger than 21. Underage drivers, whether they are licensed or not, can be charged with a DUI if they drive with a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher. They can also face penalties like fines and license suspensions as a result.
Commercial drivers or those who hold commercial drivers’ licenses or CDLs can also be charged with DUI. Because of the risk that their vehicles pose to the public, CDL drivers are forbidden from driving with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher. They can lose their commercial driving privileges if they are found guilty of DUI.
Finally, it is possible to be charged with an enhanced or aggravated DUI in West Virginia. If the driver’s blood alcohol content level is measured at 0.15 percent or higher, he or she can be charged with an enhanced or aggravated DUI and face more severe penalties than standard DUI offenders.
DUI Penalties in West Virginia
The types of punishments that DUI offenders face in West Virginia largely depend on the number of prior DUI infractions that they have on their driving and criminal records. They also reflect the level of a person’s BAC at the time of his or her arrest.
A first-time DUI conviction in West Virginia can garner penalties like up to six months in jail. At least 48 hours of that sentence will be mandatory if the person is convicted of an aggravated DUI.
Additionally, the fine for a first-time DUI conviction results in a fine of $100 to $500. The fines go up to $200 to $1000 if the BAC is 0.15 percent or higher. Finally, the offender can have his or her license revoked for up to six months for a first-time conviction.
A second DUI conviction in West Virginia results in consequences like six months to one year in jail. The fines also range from $1000 to $3000. The offender can also have his or her license revoked for up to 10 years. It can be reinstated by meeting certain requirements determined by the court after five years, however.
A third DUI conviction in the state leads to a jail term of two to five years and fines ranging from $3000 to $5000. The driver’s license can also be revoked for a lifetime.
First-time offenders have are eligible to have their jail terms suspended and licenses reinstated by taking part in the state’s Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock program and by completing alcohol and drug abuse treatment and other educational courses.
Implied Consent in West Virginia
The implied consent laws in West Virginia require motorists to provide samples of breath, urine or blood if they are arrested with probable cause for driving under the influence. If they refuse to provide samples when required by law enforcement, offenders can still be charged with DUI and face having their licenses revoked by the state.
A first-time refusal to comply with chemical testing results in the person’s license being revoked for up to one year. A second refusal within 10 years results in the license being revoked for 10 years with possible reinstatement after five years. A third refusal results in a revocation for a lifetime.
West Virginia relies on stringent DUI laws to protect the public from drivers who are inebriated or high. These laws lead to offenders being sentenced to jail and paying steep fines. They can also lead to people having their licenses revoked for years or indefinitely.