West Virginia DUI Laws and Penalties 2024 – All You Need to Know

To account for the state’s tough stance on drunk driving offenses, West Virginia has implemented a myriad of laws and regulations to punish those who drive while under the influence. Even a first-time offense can come with serious consequences, including driver’s license suspension, time in jail, hefty fines, and other substantial penalties. Staying up to date on the current West Virginia DUI laws and penalties is a vital part of protecting your rights and avoiding serious criminal charges.

The majority of West Virginians rely on their cars to carry out everyday tasks that are crucial to their lives, such as going to work, driving their children to school, and running errands for general upkeep and maintenance. Therefore, the threat of license suspension is serious, negatively impacting not only the defendant but also the lives of their dependents. Such disastrous consequences can be avoided by promoting awareness of the following West Virginia DUI Laws and Penalties.

What Does Driving in an Impaired State Mean?

According to the West Virginia criminal code, driving in an “impaired state” is considered to be operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or greater or being under the influence of an impairing substance, such as other drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Even legally prescribed medications can fall into this category if taking them puts you in an impaired state.

Individuals operating a commercial vehicle can face being charged with a DUI if their BAC reading is found to be 0.04% or greater, and drivers 20 years old or younger can be charged with driving under the influence if their BAC is as low as 0.02%.

First-, Second-, and Third-Offense DUI Penalties in West Virginia

The severity of DUI penalties that a defendant can potentially face in West Virginia is dependent on the number of DUI charges that they have been convicted of in the past ten years. General penalties associated with each number offense of DUI include:

  • First Offense DUI: Drivers who are convicted of their first DUI within a 10-year period are charged with a misdemeanor crime, with associated penalties of up to 6 months of jail time, fines ranging from $100 to $500, and a license revocation period of 6 months.
  • Second Offense DUI: A second DUI offense within ten years is considered to be a misdemeanor crime with associated penalties of six months to one year in jail, fines ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, and having the license revoked for up to 10 years.
  • Third Offense DUI: A third DUI offense within a 10-year period is charged as a felony, with potential associated charges including a sentence of two to five years of jail time, fines ranging from $3,000 to $5,000, and a potential lifetime license revocation.

It’s important to note that aggravating factors, such as DUI cases involving injuries and deaths, as well as cases with high BAC levels, can lead to more severe penalties despite the number of prior offenses. If you are facing minor or severe DUI charges in West Virginia, it is critical to get in touch with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible so that they can analyze the details of your case and mount an optimal and timely defense.


Q: Can I Lose My License After a First-Time West Virginia DUI?

A: Yes, first-time West Virginia DUI offenses generally result in license revocation for six months, with non-alcohol-related offenses being ineligible to apply for the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program.

This program allows drivers convicted of alcohol-related DUIs to shorten the license revocation period and have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their car for a certain period of time. Respective license suspension and IID installation periods depend on the BAC level of the first-time offender during the arrest.

Q: How Do I Get Out of a West Virginia DUI?

A: There are multiple strategies that can help you get DUI charges dropped in West Virginia. These strategies will vary based on the details of your case, including the details of your arrest and detention, the prosecution’s evidence against you, and your criminal history.

Common DUI defenses include challenging the validity of breath or blood tests or proving that your rights were breached during arrest or detention. An experienced WV DUI lawyer can work to optimally defend your case to get charges dropped.

Q: What Is the West Virginia DUI Deferral Program?

A: The West Virginia DUI Deferral Program is a program that allows first-time minor DUI offenders in the state to have their records expunged after they finish completion of the program.

The program includes entering into a period of probation, in which all terms and conditions directed by the court must be followed, including attendance at community service, educational programs, and regular drug and alcohol testing. A knowledgeable West Virginia DUI lawyer can help you understand your eligibility for the program.

Q: What Are the Penalties for DUI Intoxication Manslaughter in West Virginia?

A: Intoxication manslaughter in West Virginia is a serious crime that is classified as a felony, including a minimum mandatory sentence of three years, with prison sentences lasting up to 15 years. The associated fines for such a crime, if convicted, range from $1,000 to $3,000. If you are facing charges for intoxication manslaughter in West Virginia, a dedicated DUI lawyer can help defend you in court and work to get your charges potentially dropped or reduced.

Protect Your Rights With a West Virginia DUI Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing drunk driving charges in West Virginia can be challenging and intimidating, as a lot is at stake. Depending on the severity and nature of your charges, your criminal record, and other factors, you could be facing years in prison and having your license revoked. A DUI defense lawyer from Meadows Law PLLC can review your case details and work to mount a strong defense against your charges.

From challenging the basis of your arrest to questioning the evidence brought forward by the prosecution, an attorney from our team can help you optimize your DUI case outcomes. Contact a DUI lawyer from Meadows Law PLLC today to get started.

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