West Virginia had only 90 drunk driving-related fatalities in 2011, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), thanks to the state’s use of felony DUIs, sobriety checkpoints, and ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk driving offenders. However, the state’s repeat offense rate remains high with over 27,500 third-time offenders and over 10,500 fifth-time offenders in 2011.
Anyone who operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher in West Virginia is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). First and second convictions are misdemeanors while third and subsequent convictions are felonies. Consequences can include a fine, jail time, and driver’s license suspension.
- 1st Conviction: $100 to $500 fine; up to 6 months in jail
- 1st Conviction (with BAC of 015 or higher): $200 to $1,000 fine; 2 days to 6 months in jail
- 2nd Conviction: $1,000 to $3,000 fine; 2 days to 12 months in jail
- 3rd and Subsequent Convictions: $3,000 to $5,000 fine; 1 to 3 years in jail
The offender’s driver’s license will be revoked for 60 days to 10 years, depending on prior convictions.
If the DUI offense results in the death of another person, the DUI is elevated to a felony punishable by a fine of up to $3,000 and up to 10 years in jail. If the offense results in the serious bodily injury of another person, the DUI is a misdemeanor punishable by a $200 to $1,000 fine and 1 day to 1 year in jail.
If the drunk driver committed the offense while a child under the age of 16 was in the vehicle, consequences increase to a $200 to $1,000 fine and 2 days to 12 months in jail.
Anyone who knowingly allows his or her vehicle to be driven by another person who is under the influence of alcohol is also guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a $100 to $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail.
The legal limit for drivers under the age of 21 is 0.02. Consequences include a fine of $25 to $100 after a first conviction and a fine of $100 to $500 and 24 hours in jail after a second conviction.
Ignition Interlock Laws
All convicted drunk drivers must install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for at least 165 days, depending on the number of prior convictions.