West Virginia DUI Laws, Fines and Penalties

Learn about West Virginia drunk driving fines & penalties.

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What are the penalties for a DUI in West Virginia?


1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail

Up to 6 months

6 to 12 months

1 to 3 years

Fines and Penalties

$100 to $1,000

$1,000 to $3,000

$3,000 to $5,000

License Suspension

15 to 45 days

1 year

1 year

IID** Required

Possible

Yes

Yes

Lookback Period: 10 years (Period of time that prior DUIs are relevant for sentencing. Also known as a “washout” period.)

**Ignition Interlock Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in West Virginia?

Under 21

.02%

21 or older

.08%

Commercial

.04%

** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

You may want to try our BAC Calculator, however I wouldn't let any results encourage you to drink and drive.

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.

 

1st Offense

2d Offense

3rd Offense

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

Disclaimer: 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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