West Virginia Drunk Driving Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

Learn about the penalties—including fines and potential jail time—for a DUI conviction in West Virginia.

West Virginia prohibits anyone from driving while being in an “impaired state.” An impaired state includes anyone:

The BAC limit is reduced to .04% if the licensee is driving a commercial vehicle and is reduced to .02% for drivers who are under 21 years old. However, offenders under the age of 21 (with a BAC of .02% or more but less than .08%) face reduced fines and jail time (as compared to a regular DUI), but will lose their license for 60 days and/or until at least 18 years old.

West Virginia Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Per Se DUIs

A DUI based on BAC—as opposed to the driver’s level of impairment—is often called a “per se” DUI. The amount of alcohol a person must drink to exceed the legal limit depends on many factors, including gender, body size, and number and strength of drinks.

Take a look at our BAC calculator and BAC table for an estimate of where your BAC might be at after a certain number of drinks. But remember, these are just approximations that don’t take into consideration all the factors that can affect blood alcohol concentration. If you’ve been drinking, it’s always best not to drive.

West Virginia DUI Penalties

West Virginia DUI penalties vary based on the circumstances of the case. The judge is permitted to order jail time and fines, but the range of allowable penalties depends, in large part, on how many prior convictions the offender has within the last ten years. Here are what the potential sentences generally look like for a first, second, and third DUI.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail

Up to 6 months (minimum 48 hours if .15% BAC or greater)

6 months to 1 year

2 to 5 years

Fines

$100 to $500 ($200 to $1,000 if .15% BAC or greater)

$1,000 to $3,000

$3,000 to $5,000

License Revocation

6 months

10 year revocation

Lifetime revocation

Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program. Any person subject to license revocation due to a first-offense DUI may apply for the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program. If accepted, the driver will be able to avoid much of the revocation period by installing an ignition interlock device (IID). If the driver produced a BAC under .15%, the revocation will be for 15 days, followed by 120-day IID requirement. And if the driver produced a BAC of .15% or greater, the revocation will be for 45 days with a 270-day IID requirement. This program is not available to DUIs involving drugs.

Additionally, successful completion of the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program can actually result in a DUI dismissal for those with no prior DUIs.

Implied Consent and Refusing a Blood or Breath Test in West Virginia

West Virginia’s “implied consent” laws require all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to submit to a blood or breath test. After the arrest, the arresting officer will report the results to the state for license revocation. If the driver submits to and fails the BAC test, the revocation period will be the same as for a DUI conviction (this revocation may be imposed even if the criminal charges are dismissed). If the driver was placed under arrest and refused to submit to the officer’s request for a BAC test, the driver’s license will be revoked according to the following table.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

License Revocation

1 year

10-year revocation

Lifetime

Plea Bargaining in West Virginia DUI Cases

A DUI charge in West Virginia can result in serious penalties. However, there are possibilities of deferring the conviction, reducing penalties, and possibly pleading to a lesser “wet reckless” charge. If you are charged with a DUI, it’s best to consult with a qualified DUI lawyer about your options.

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