Drunk driving laws in the United States are largely standardized, and the penalties for a first offense DUI are likely similar no matter where you are in the country. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense, and penalties often include heavy fines, jail time, probation and administrative restrictions on or revocations of your license. In West Virginia, the penalties for a first offense DUI are much like they are across the country.
While many of the criminal penalties in West Virginia are similar to those across the United States and include fines and license suspensions, the state has specific laws that regulate penalties relative to the severity of the offense.
For example, a typical first offense DUI, which you can be charged with if your BAC is above the legal limit of .08, or if officers determine that you are too impaired to drive with a BAC below .08, usually does not warrant a prison sentence. Fines range from $100 to $500, and you face an immediate 15 day license suspension. Aggravating factors, however, including a dangerously elevated BAC of .15 or higher, may increase the severity of these charges.
A BAC level elevated at .15 or above carries a mandatory jail sentence of between two days and six months, fines of up to $1,000 and an extended license suspension. Other aggravating factors include driving under the influence with a minor under the age of 16 in the car and excessive speed.
Other penalties for a first offense
In West Virginia, a first offense conviction will also carry a court alcohol abuse evaluation that may result in alcohol abuse treatment. In addition to any court-mandated penalties, you will also have to face license hearings with the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (WVDMV). These hearings will determine your eligibility for a temporary license and the length of your full license suspension, which often is six months. Enlisting the services of an experienced DUI attorney is the best way to easily navigate the process if you are charged with a DUI.
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