Common DUI Questions

Many questions arise after a DUI arrest. What options do I have? Will I go to jail? How much will this cost? Should I hire an attorney? Where will my hearings take place?

Below are some general answers to the more common DUI questions. The information listed below is only intended to provide you with a basic understanding of West Virginia DUI laws and procedures. Remember that every case is different. At The Moore Law Firm, PLLC, we strongly recommend that you contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately following your arrest.

What is the penalty for 1st offense DUI?

The criminal penalty for1st offense DUI with a BAC level of 0.08 to 0.15 is incarceration for up to six months and a fine of $100 to $500. If convicted, you will also be responsible for paying court costs.

The standard administrative penalty for 1st offense DUI with a BAC level of 0.08 to 0.15 includes having your driver's license revoked for six months or having your driver's license revoked for 15 days with an additional 120 days of participation on the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program.

The criminal and standard administrative penalties differ if an individual participates in the Deferral Program, which is discussed below.

What is the penalty for Aggravated DUI (BAC greater than 0.15)?

The criminal penalty for Aggravated DUI is confinement in jail of two days to 6 months, with actual confinement of not less than 24 hours, and a fine of $200 to $2,000. If convicted, you will also be responsible for paying court costs.

The standard administrate penalty for Aggravated DUI includes having your driver's license revoked for a period of 45 days with an additional 270 days of participation in the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program

If I am convicted or if I plead guilty to 1st offense DUI with a BAC level of 0.08 to 0.15, am I required to serve jail time?

Although there is no minimum required jail sentence for 1st offense DUI, some Magistrates require an individual to serve jail time, depending on the county where the DUI charge is pending.

What is the penalty for a 1st offense DUI for a person under 21?

The criminal penalty for a 1st offense DUI for a person under 21 and with a BAC level of 0.02 to 0.08 is a fine of $25 to $100. A person under 21 with a BAC level of 0.02 to 0.08 may move for a continuance of the criminal proceedings so that the person can participate in the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program. Upon the successful completion of the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program, the criminal charge will be dismissed and the person's criminal record expunged.

Will my driver's license automatically be revoked as a result of a DUI?

After being charged with a DUI, the law enforcement officer is required to report your name and address to DMV within 48 hours. The DMV will then, in turn, mail an Official Notice - Order of Revocation to your address.

The Order of Revocation will list the effective date that your driver's license will be revoked. The effective date is listed in bold at the top right corner of the Order of Revocation. To prevent your driver's license from being revoked on the effective date, you must request an administrative hearing or file a written objection within 30 days of receipt of the Order of Revocation. If you do not request an administrative hearing or file a written objection, then your driver's license will automatically be revoked on the effective date.

Further, you can complete and submit an application for the West Virginia Alcohol Test and Lock Program, which constitutes a waiver of your administrative hearing. Under certain circumstances, your license will not be revoked, but additional time will be added to the period of time in which the Interlock device is installed in your vehicle.

What is the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program?

Participants in the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program can only operate a motor vehicle equipped with the Ignition Interlock Device. The Ignition Interlock Device, or commonly known as the "blow and go" machine, is a small device that is hard wired into a car's electrical system. The Device requires a breath sample before allowing the car to start. Participants are required to appear at a service station every 30 to 60 days so that a technician can download the recorded data from the Device. Also, individuals are required to complete an Alcohol Safety and Treatment Course.

How much does participation in the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program cost?

There is a $100.00 non-refundable application fee, $75.00 installation charge, a daily rental and service fee of $3.00 (which amounts to approximately $90.00 a month), and a de-installation charge of $40.00.

What is the Deferral Program?

The Deferral Program is a statutorily created program that allows a person charged with a 1st offense DUI to defer the criminal case until the person can successfully complete the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program. One year following the successful completion of the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program, the person can file a motion with the Court to have the DUI expunged from his or her criminal record.

What does the Deferral Program entail?

A person charged with 1st offense DUI must notify the Court within 30 days after arrest that he or she is requesting to participate in the Deferral Program. The person must either plea guilty or be found guilty of DUI. The Court then continues or defers the criminal proceedings and places the person on probation. The person's driver's license will be revoked for 15 days with an additional 165 days with the Interlock device in his or her vehicle. After the completion of the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program, a motion will be filed with the Magistrate Court to dismiss the DUI charge. One year following the successful completion of the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program, another motion will be filed to have the DUI charge expunged from the person's criminal record.

Are there time limitations on applying to the Deferral Program?

Yes. A person charged with 1st offense DUI must notify the Court within 30 days of arrest that he or she wishes to participate in the Deferral Program.

If I have had a previous DUI conviction, am I eligible to participate in the Deferral Program?

No. Only those individuals who are charged with DUI for the first time are eligible for the Deferral Program. Also, only individuals with a BAC level under 0.15 are eligible for the Deferral Program.

Do I need an attorney to represent me if I choose to participate in the Deferral Program?

You have the right to represent yourself (known as pro se) in the criminal and administrative proceedings. However, we strongly recommend that you retain an attorney to protect your interests. One important aspect of the Deferral Program is that the DUI can be expunged from your criminal record after one year following the successful completion of the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program. Expunging your criminal records requires filing motions with the Court. An experienced DUI attorney can easily help you through the process and help protect your interests along the way.

Where will my hearings be held?

The criminal proceedings for 1st and 2nd Offense DUI, including any hearings, will be held either in the Magistrate Court in the county where you were arrested or the Municipal Court in the city where you were arrested.

The administrative hearing will be held at the local DMV office.

Will my automobile insurance premium increase as a result of my DUI?

It depends on your insurance carrier. Some insurance carriers increase premiums after an insured is convicted of DUI. Other insurance carriers do not increase premiums. The more DUI and traffic citations you have, the more likely your insurance premium will increase.

Can I be charged with 2nd Offense DUI if my prior DUI conviction is from another state?

Yes. A prior conviction within the past 10 years from another state or jurisdiction can be used to charge you with 2nd or even 3rd Offense DUI if the elements of proof for that conviction are the same as the elements of proof for a DUI in West Virginia. Generally, all states have the same required elements of proof for a DUI conviction; therefore, a conviction in another state can be used to charge a person with a 2nd or 3rd Offense DUI in West Virginia.

Contact an Aggressive and Experienced DUI Defense Attorney

For more information regarding West Virginia DUI laws, please contact one of our experienced DUI attorneys though our online intake form or by calling 304-358-0318.

Appointments are scheduled at your convenience.

Off-site meetings are available upon request.