If a DUI hearing request is made at the West Virginia DMV on a timely basis, the accused will be allowed to continue driving pending the outcome of the hearing. If the DUI hearing request is not made on time, the driver’s license will be automatically suspended. That’s why it’s important to act quickly if you’ve been arrested in West Virginia and hire a DUI attorney right away.
West Virginia DUI law also gives rise to a second case: a Division of Motor Vehicles case, where your West Virginia drunk driving privileges are at stake. This West Virginia DUI DMV action is separate and apart from the West Virginia DUI criminal court action. It requires you (or your DUI lawyer) to act quickly to save your license following an arrest for West Virginia DUI.
URGENT: It is critical that you speak to a West Virginia DWI defense attorney IMMEDIATELY if you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in West Virginia. West Virginia DUI laws are among the toughest in the country. You have a limited amount of time to act to save your driver’s license following a DUI arrest in West Virginia. If a DUI Hearing Request is made of the West Virginia DMV on a timely basis, the accused will be allowed to continue driving pending the outcome of the hearing. If the DUI Hearing Request is not made on time, the driver’s license will be automatically suspended.
West Virginia DUI and drunk driving cases are prosecuted on one of two theories, either “common-law” or “per se”. West Virginia DUI / DWI prosecution of the traditional “common-law” DUI is where the government attempts to show that the driver was impaired either physically or mentally as the result of consuming alcohol or drugs. This impairment is typically demonstrated by the arresting officer’s testimony concerning the driving pattern, field sobriety tests, the driver’s appearance, and performance on chemical tests. Although chemical testing may be relevant to the issue of impairment, it is not necessary to support a West Virginia DUI conviction. Impairment can be demonstrated circumstantially through other means and is not dependent on DWI chemical test results.
West Virginia DUI / DWI cases predicated on the per se charges take the opposite view. These DUI prosecutions are based only on the chemical test results and do not care about impairment at all. The only inquiry for a per se charge is whether or not the accused drunk driver was above the legal limit of .08% at the time of driving. (Note: as of May 5, 2004 the legal limit for West Virginia DUI / DWI cases was reduced from .10 to .08%.)
If arrested for a DUI, West Virginia implied consent law requires you to submit to testing of your blood or breath for alcohol content. If this testing is refused following a DUI / DWI arrest, there is a DMV administrative action that could result in the suspension of your driving privileges from one year to as long as a lifetime ban from driving. West Virginia, unlike some states, does not criminalize the refusal to test following a West Virginia DUI / DWI arrest. There is no work permit available following a DMV action in West Virginia.
West Virginia’s drinking and driving law provide for a look-back period of 10 years. This means that if there is a prior DUI conviction more than 10 years before the current case, the current DUI / DWI will be prosecuted as a first offense. If there is a DUI / DWI conviction within 10 years of the current case, the current case will be prosecuted as a second-offense DUI (or more, depending upon the number of priors). These prior convictions significantly increase the punishment for conviction of a DUI.
Punishment in West Virginia Criminal Court
West Virginia DUI / DWI Conviction – First Offense
Minimum: 24 hours.
Maximum: 6 months.
Fine: $100 to $500, plus court costs/surcharges.
West Virginia DUI / DWI Conviction – Second Offense
Minimum: 6 months.
Maximum: 1 year.
Fine: $1,000 to $3,000, plus court costs/surcharges.
West Virginia DUI / DWI Conviction – Third Offense
Minimum: 1 year.
Maximum: 3 years.
Fine: $3,000 to $5,000, plus court costs/surcharges.