In West Virginia, a second driving under the influence (DUI) conviction carries more severe penalties than a first offense. However, the circumstances surrounding the DUI can greatly affect the outcome. The following are possible outcomes and penalties resulting from a second-offense DUI in West Virginia.
In West Virginia, a DUI is considered a second offense, a misdemeanor crime, if the driver has one prior DUI conviction that occurred within the past ten years. (With no priors within the last ten years, a DUI is classified as a first offense.) Judges have some discretion in sentencing, but West Virginia has minimum second-offense penalties that can't be suspended or avoided through a probation sentence.
Jail time. A second-offense DUI carries six months to one year in jail. This jail sentence can't be suspended or deferred but the convicted motorist may be able to serve the time on work release or house arrest.
Fines. A person who's convicted of a second DUI also faces fines of $1,000 to $3,000, plus court costs.
A second DUI results in a minimum ten-year license revocation. However, after completing at least half of the revocation period, a driver can petition for early reissuance. Eligibility for reissuance depends on the driver's completion of a substance abuse treatment program and payment of all related fees.
West Virginia's implied consent laws require all persons who drive in the state to consent to BAC testing. The second time a driver refuses to submit to a BAC test, his or her license will be revoked for ten years. However, the driver can petition for reissuance after five years.
The above-state penalties are for the most common types of DUIs. However, different circumstances can result in different penalties. The penalties can be greatly increased if the driver had a minor in the car, was a habitual drug user, or caused an injury accident or the death of another person. A DUI that results in the death of another person could also lead to vehicular homicide charges.
After being arrested for driving under the influence in West Virginia, it's a good idea to talk to a DUI attorney as soon as possible. DUI law is complicated and frequently changes. A qualified DUI lawyer can let you know how the law applies to your case and help you decide on the best way to handle your situation.