West Virginia DWI Lawyers
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Like the Appalachian Mountains that make up this “Mountain State”, West Virginia’s DWI laws may seem as intimidating as the tallest mountains themselves. That’s because a DWI arrest triggers two separate cases: a criminal case and a hearing with the Division of Motor Vehicles. The latter specifically relates to your driver’s license. You only have a short amount of time after your arrest to request a hearing with the DMV, otherwise you automatically lose your license.
A West Virginia DWI can be charged under two theories. One is a “per se” violation, which means even if you were not “impaired” your chemical test results can have you charged with a DWI. The other possibility is the violation of a “common law”, which can mean you failed your field sobriety tests or you were shown to be mentally or physically impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of driving.
West Virginia DWI Penalties
For first offenders, you can face from 6 months to 1 year in jail. The mandatory minimum is 1 day. However, with the right attorney, probation or community service may take the place of jail. Your license will be suspended for at least 6 months, which cost you your job. Fines can range from $100 to $500 in West Virginia. Other penalties may include: ignition interlock system, limited travel, insurance coverage problems, vehicle impoundment, alcohol treatment and (which you must pay for).
If your blood alcohol content is .08% or higher in West Virginia, you are DWI. However, if your BAC was at least .05% this is still grounds for losing your driver’s license. Your BAC is measured by the use of these three chemical tests: blood, breath and urine. Blood is the most accurate, but most be conducted at a hospital by qualified medical personnel (the same is true for urine).
Field Sobriety Tests
Police may conduct the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), the one leg stand or the walk and turn field sobriety tests if they suspect you of drunk driving. The HGN requires you to follow an object, while the other two test your ability to stay balanced.
Ignition Interlock Device
West Virginia is the only state where the DMV controls and administers the ignition interlock program. The program is voluntary and incentive-based for eligible offenders. This machine will be installed in your car and will enable your car to start only if you breathe into the machine alcohol-free.
Those under 21 cannot have any alcohol in their system while driving. If found to have any amount of alcohol during a chemical test, their license will be suspended for 60 days.
Finding a DWI Attorney
For the above reasons alone, it is imperative that you seek legal representation. Only a lawyer who specializes in DWI should take your case. Find one in West Virginia today.