In West Virginia, a third driving under the influence (DUI) charge is a felony. Convicted motorists face a fine, lifetime license revocation, and possible prison time. This article outlines the possible penalties for a third-offense DUI, as well as some sentencing alternatives.
A DUI is considered a third offense in West Virginia if the driver has two prior DUI convictions within the past ten years. Statutes outline the parameters of the penalties, but it will be up to the judge to decide on the sentence within those parameters.
Prison time. For a third DUI, the offender faces two to five years in prison. While this penalty can't be suspended or reduced, the judge can allow the offender to serve the sentence outside of prison such as on home detention.
Fines. A third-offense DUI carries a fine of $3,000 to $5,000.
Aggravating factors. The penalties for a third DUI can be more severe if the offense involves aggravating factors. Aggravating factors include having minor passengers, having an excessively high blood alcohol content, and causing injuries or a fatality.
A third or subsequent DUI violation will result in lifetime driver's license revocation. But reinstatement is possible.
West Virginia established the Motor Vehicle Alcohol and Drug Test and Lock Program ("Test and Lock") which allowed revoked and suspended drivers to have limited driving privileges. After one year of revocation, the DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles) can reduce the lifetime revocation and issue a restricted license.
This restricted license requires the use of an ignition interlock device (IID) for at least three years and participation in drug testing and the state's treatment and job program.
For many offenders, West Virginia has programs available to reduce or even eliminate certain DUI penalties. Consult with an attorney regarding your options and how to best handle your case.