DUI Lawyer in Morgantown
Protecting Clients’ Driving Privileges in West Virginia
DUI charges in West Virginia carry very harsh penalties. Some of these penalties include a criminal conviction on your record, you could have your drivers' license suspended, and face costly financial penalties. These penalties may have long-term consequences that may affect your future and your freedom. You must get help from an experienced Morgantown DUI lawyer who can fight for you, and help you protect your future. At The Moore Law Firm, PLLC, we have decades of experience helping our clients tell their side of the story and avoid a conviction.
First-Offense DUI in West Virginia
In Morgantown, a driver with a BAC level of 0.08 to 0.15 will face criminal penalties. The standard administrative penalty for first-offense DUI includes having your driver’s license revoked for 6 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.
Being convicted of a DUI will also result in:
- Up to six months in jail.
- Up to $500 in fines.
Frequently Asked Questions about DUI
Below are some general answers to some common DUI questions. By understanding the West Virginia DUI laws and procedures, you can feel more confident about your ability to fight the charges and protect your future. If you need more information, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately following your DUI charge.
What can a DUI lawyer do for you?
An attorney will investigate your DUI case, develop a defense strategy, explain your options, and answer all your questions. They can help you understand the impact that evidence can have on your case. Your attorney’s job is to ensure you are informed and kept up-to-date about your case.
How can I get my DUI charge dropped?
There are different ways in which a DUI can be dropped or dismissed, including:
- Successful completion of the West Virginia DUI Deferral Program for those who qualify
- Tough negotiations by an aggressive DUI defense lawyer
- Suppression of important evidence, such as the BAC results from the Intoximeter EC/IR II machine
- An acquittal at trial
- Granting of a motion to dismiss based upon a legal technicality, failure to comply with laws or regulations, or a constitutional violation
- A plea to a lesser offense
At The Moore Law Firm, PLLC, our team can look at every aspect of your DUI case from the moment you were spotted by police to the time you walk into the courtroom. If something wasn’t done right, we will find it and use it to your advantage.
What is the penalty for aggravated DUI (BAC greater than 0.15)?
The criminal penalty for an aggravated DUI is confinement in jail from 2 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.
What is the penalty for a first-offense DUI for a person under 21?
The criminal penalty for a first-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 program, the criminal charge will be dismissed and the person’s criminal record expunged.
Do I need a lawyer for a DUI?
You should strongly consider hiring a DUI defense lawyer, as they can make a tremendous difference in your case. Whether you want to fight the DUI in court, negotiate a plea, or participate in the West Virginia DUI Deferral Program, the team at The Moore Law Firm, PLLC can help at every step of the way.
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, written in bold print 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. If you do not request an administrative hearing or file a written objection, 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 an ignition interlock device. These small devices—commonly known as the “blow and go” machine—are hardwired 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 nonrefundable application fee, $75 installation charge, a daily rental and service fee of $3 (which amounts to approximately $90 a month), and a de-installation charge of $40.
What is the Deferral Program?
This program allows a person charged with a first-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 first-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 plead 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.
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 first and second 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 their insured is convicted of DUI. Other insurance carriers do not. The more DUI and traffic citations you have, however, the more likely it is that your insurance premium will increase.
Can I be charged with second-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 second- or even third-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, so a conviction in another state can be used to charge a person with a second- or third-offense DUI in West Virginia.
Does a DUI show up on a background check?
Yes. A DUI will initially show up on a background check as a “charge” or an “arrest.” If you are convicted of DUI, that conviction will be reflected on a background check. There are limited ways to have a DUI removed from a background check, but certainly specific steps must be taken. That is why it is important to contact an experienced DUI lawyer immediately after being charged. The Moore Law Firm, PLLC has helped many clients get their DUI charge removed or expunged from their criminal record.
Call (304) 521-2451 for more information.