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West Virginia Drunk Driving Laws

West Virginia

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in West Virginia?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In West Virginia, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration measures .02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in West Virginia

  • A first-time offender faces one day to six months in jail and a fine of $100 to $500. The driver’s license revocation period is six months.
  • A person who commits a second DUI within 10 years of the first offense faces six months to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $3,000. The driver’s license revocation period is 10 years.
  • A person who commits a third or subsequent DUI within 10 years of the previous offenses faces one to three years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $5,000. The offender’s driver’s license will be revoked for life.

Penalties for Drunk Driving that Causes Death

A person who commits a DUI that causes or contributes to the death of another person within one year of the date of the offense faces 90 days to one year in prison and is subject to pay a fine of $500 to $1,000. The driver’s license revocation period is five years. If, however, it is shown that the offender drove drunk in reckless disregard for the safety of others, the offender faces one to 10 years in prison and is subject to pay a fine of $1,000 to $3,000. The driver’s license revocation period is 10 years.

Penalties for Drunk Driving that Causes Bodily Injury

A person who commits a DUI that causes bodily injury to another person faces one day to one year in jail and is subject to pay a fine of $200 to $1,000. The driver’s license revocation period is two years.

Penalties for Permitting Drunk Driver to Drive Your Car

If a person knowingly permits a drunk person to drive their vehicle, that person faces up to six months in jail and is subject to pay a fine of $100 to $500. The person will also have his or her driver’s license revoked for six months.

Penalties for Drunk Driving While Passenger Under 16 is in the Vehicle

A person who commits a DUI while a passenger under 16 is in the vehicle faces two days to 12 months in jail and is subject to pay a fine of $200 to $1,000. The driver’s license revocation period is one year.

Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program

First-time DUI offenders are eligible to participate in West Virginia’s Test and Lock Program. Depending on the circumstances of the DUI, after a certain period of time passes, the offender is eligible to apply for a license that permits him or her to drive with an ignition interlock device. For example, a person whose driver’s license was revoked for six months for a first DUI is eligible to participate in the test and lock program at the expiration of 15 days. If accepted into the program, the offender will be required to use an ignition interlock device for 125 days.

Repeat offenders are required to participate in the program. The minimum driver’s license revocation period is one year, and the minimum period of the use of the ignition interlock device is two years, except that a repeat underage DUI offender who drove with a BAC of .02 but less than .08 is subject to a minimum driver’s license revocation period of two months and a minimum period of use of the ignition interlock device for one year. For each additional previous conviction or revocation the offender has within the past 10 years, one year will be added to the minimum period of use of the ignition interlock device. Any person required to participate in the program must install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle he or she owns or operates.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties that may apply under West Virginia’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who commits a first DUI while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the driver was operating a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is three years. A commercial driver who commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of not less than 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

A person under 21 who drives with a BAC of .02 but less than .08 is subject to pay a fine of $25 to $100 for the first offense. The driver’s license suspension period is 60 days. An underage driver who commits a second or subsequent offense faces 24 hours in jail and is subject to pay a fine of $100 to $500. The driver’s license revocation period is one year or until the person’s 21st birthday, whichever period is longer.

What is West Virginia’s Dram Shop Act?

In West Virginia, a licensed drinking establishment that sells alcohol to a person under 21 or to an intoxicated person can be liable for injuries caused by intoxication based on common law negligence.

Criminal Penalties for Selling Alcohol to Minors

Any licensee or agent of such is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall, upon conviction thereof, for each offense be fined not less than one hundred or more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned in the county jail for not less than thirty days nor more than one year, or both fined and imprisoned.

Criminal Penalties for Furnishing Alcohol to Minors

Any person who knowingly buys for, gives to or furnishes to anyone under the age of twenty-one to whom he or she is not related by blood or marriage any liquor from whatever source is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined an amount not to exceed $250 dollars or confined in jail for a period not to exceed ten days, or both fined and confined.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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