How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in West Virginia?
21 or older
** BAC = blood alcohol content
How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.
What if you refuse to take a chemical test in West Virginia?
West Virginia has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about West Virginia’s implied consent law.
Refusal to take test
1 year license revocation (or 45 days, with an additional 1 year of ignition interlock device)
5 or 10 year license revocation
Lifetime license revocation
What is the minimum jail time?
No minimum jail term required
6 months jail
1 year jail
Lookback Period: 10 years (Period of time that prior DUIs are relevant for sentencing. Also known as a “washout” period.)
Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in West Virginia?
A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in West Virginia, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.
First West Virginia DUI Offense
1st Drunk Driving Conviction
- Jail – Up to 6 Months
- Jail – From 2 Days to 6 Months (Blood Alcohol Level .15 or Above)
- Jail – From 2 Days to 12 Months (Minor Under 16 in Vehicle)
- Fine – From $100 to $500
- Fine – From $100 to $1,000 (Blood Alcohol Level .15 or Above)
- Fine – From $200 to $1,000 (Minor under 16 in Vehicle)
- License Suspension – 15 Days
- License Suspension – 45 Days (Blood Alcohol Level .15 or Above)
- Ignition Interlock Possible
More Information: First Offense DUI in West Virginia
Important Note from the Editor
We try to keep the information provided here up to date. However, laws often change, as do their interpretation and application. Different jurisdictions within a state may enforce the laws in different ways. For that reason, we recommended that you seek the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.
Second West Virginia DUI Offense
2nd Drunk Driving Conviction
- Jail – From 6 Months to 12 Months
- Fine – From $1,000 to $3,000
- License Suspension – 1 Year
- Ignition Interlock Required
More Information: Second Offense DUI in West Virginia
Third West Virginia DUI Offense
3rd Drunk Driving Conviction
- Felony Offense
- Jail – From 1 Year to 3 Years
- Fine – From $3,000 to $5,000
- License Suspension – 1 Year
- Ignition Interlock Required
More Information: Third Offense DUI in West Virginia
New WV DUI Laws
As of 2010, those seeking to appeal a license revocation will no longer have to appeal to the DMV. Instead, a separate agency within the Department of Transportation will be in charge of these hearings. New legislation also allows first-time DUI offenders to expunge their criminal records if they agree to participate in an ignition interlock program.
Drinking and Driving Laws in West Virginia
It is illegal in the State of West Virginia to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. The .08 percent BAC limit is the standard measurement used across the United States for the "impaired" driver. The State of West Virginia has lower BAC limits for commercial drivers (.04) and drivers under the age of 21 (.02) or Zero Tolerance. The West Virginia DUI law also prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by drivers under the influence of controlled substances such as narcotics, inhalants and other intoxicants.
The first time you are arrested and convicted of drunk driving in the State of West Virginia you will be sentenced to jail for 24 hours or up to 6 months. You will also receive a fine of $100 or up to $500. Your drivers license will be suspended up to 6 months and you must successfully complete a safety and treatment program before your drivers license will be reinstated.
The second time you are convicted of a DUI in West Virginia you will spend 6 months in jail or up to 1 year in jail. You will also be fined $1,000 or up to $3,000. Your drivers license could be revoked up to 10 years or your drivers license will be suspended for 1 year followed by a mandatory ignition interlock program. Also, you must successfully complete a safety and treatment program before your drivers license will be reinstated.
The 3rd drunk driving conviction in West Virginia will cost you from 1 to 3 years in jail and you will be fined from $3,000-$5,000. You will also face a lifetime revocation of your drivers license or a 1 year revocation followed by mandatory participation in an ignition interlock device program. You must also successfully complete a safety and treatment program before your drivers license will be reinstated.
2008 Changes in the West Virginia Drunk Driving Laws
In 2008 the Governor has signed one bill dealing with DUI Legislation. The bill is Senate Bill 535, DUI Penalties. This is the Summary: Relates to modifications to administrative and criminal penalties for driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Please CLICK HERE to Read the Bill
How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in West Virginia?
It is difficult to calculate how many drinks it takes any individual to reach the .08 BAC limit. There are many factors that contribute to an individuals BAC level including weight, sex, body-fat percentage and the time interval between drinks. Studies have show that a persons BAC could go up as much as .05 percent for each drink taken. There are charts and calculators that can serve as a reference, however, these tools do not take all variables into consideration when calculating your BAC score.
The best answer is not to drink and drive . The State of West Virginia has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in West Virginia, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.
Drunk Driving Laws in West Virginia
State of West Virginia BAC Laws:
- All drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher.
- Under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher.
- Commercial Vehicle Driver with a BAC of .04 or higher.
The Implied Consent Law in West Virginia
The implied consent law in West Virginia says that all drivers in the State of West Virginia have given their consent to a chemical test of their blood, breath or urine if an officer of the law suspects that the driver is under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both. If you refuse to submit to such a test your drivers license will be revoked up to 1 year on your first offense. Subsequent refusals will bring harsher penalties that are equal or greater than a actual DUI conviction.