Martinsburg DUI Defense Attorneys
Serving Clients Throughout West Virginia, Berkeley County & Beyond
Being arrested for DUI can be one of the most humiliating and intimidating experiences you will ever experience. These are charges that can have significant consequences, from potential job loss to reputational loss, loss of your license, and huge financial repercussions.
You may think you have little chance of overcoming these consequences because the government has scientific evidence against you. However, that is not the case. Law enforcement can make many mistakes in seeking convictions, from police procedural errors to technical errors and defects involving breathalyzer equipment, and more.
All of the various aspects of any DUI require an intensive investigation into the facts and circumstances. Investigations may turn up evidence favorable to you and expose the flaws and weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. At The Criminal Law Center, our trial lawyers put highly-qualified investigators on your side who can inspect every aspect of your case to build a defense strategy seeking favorable results.
What is DUI in West Virginia?
Under West Virginia law, DUI consists of the following:
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher
- Driving while impaired by alcohol, any controlled substance, drug, inhalant, or a combination of these (regardless of BAC)
For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is 0.04 percent, and for drivers under the age of 21, it's 0.02 percent.
When charged with a West Virginia DUI, you will be subject to two legal processes. One is the criminal case determined in state court. The other is an administrative process in which the DMV will automatically suspend your license. In the administrative process, you have a limited time after your arrest to request a DMV hearing to challenge the suspension. This hearing provides you with an opportunity to provide evidence as to why your license should remain valid.
DUI Penalties in West Virginia
Your penalties for a DUI will depend on whether you have previous DUI convictions within the last 10 years along with other factors.
A first offense is generally punishable by:
- Up to six months in jail or probation
- A fine of $100 up to $500
- A six-month license suspension
- Participation in a DUI safety and treatment program
If your BAC was excessively high, such as .15 percent or higher, you will face a minimum of 48 hours in jail and your fine will likely be increased to $200 up to $1,000.
A second offense is punishable by six months up to a year in jail, a fine of $1,000 up to $3,000, and a 10-year revocation of your license.
A third offense carries two to five years of incarceration, fines ranging from $3,000 up to $5,000, and a lifetime license revocation.
The Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test & Lock Program
West Virginia’s Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program, also known as the Ignition Interlock Program, is a program for individuals who have been convicted of a DUI. It allows you to regain your driving privileges under certain conditions.
The program involves installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. This device requires you to provide a breath sample before the vehicle can be started. If the device detects alcohol above a certain level, your vehicle will not start.
Participants in the program are typically required to meet several conditions, which may include:
- Completing a DUI safety and treatment program
- Paying all necessary fees, including for the installation and maintenance of the device
- Regular reporting for device checks and data downloads
Failure to comply with the program requirements can result in penalties, such as an extension of the program duration or revocation of driving privileges.
The length of time you are required to participate in the program varies based on factors like the number of previous offenses and the severity of the DUI.
Implied Consent in West Virginia
Implied consent in West Virginia refers to the fact that, by driving on the state's roads, you are implicitly agreeing to submit to chemical testing if law enforcement suspects driving under the influence. This could include tests like breath, blood, or urine samples to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the presence of drugs.
If you refuse to take these tests when asked by an officer who has reasonable grounds to believe you are impaired, significant penalties can ensue. In West Virginia, refusing a chemical test can result in an immediate driver's license revocation for one year for a first offense. For subsequent refusals, the revocation period is longer.
It's important to note that this is separate from any criminal charges for a DUI; this administrative penalty may apply even if you're ultimately found not guilty of the DUI charge.
Why West Virginia DUI Charges Require Legal Representation
DUI cases are typically very complex due to their legal, scientific, and procedural aspects. Because of this, they require the knowledge and skills of an attorney who is highly experienced in DUI defense.
Complexities that can be involved and must be investigated include:
The Arrest: Details of the arrest can play a significant role in a DUI case. Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop and probable cause to make an arrest. Any inconsistencies or violations of rights during this process can impact your case.
Field Sobriety Tests: These tests are often used by law enforcement to determine impairment. However, they can be subjective and affected by various factors such as your physical condition, medical history, weather conditions, and the officer's interpretation.
Chemical Testing: Blood, breath, or urine tests used to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or the presence of drugs can be prone to errors. Factors such as the timing of the test, how it was administered, the maintenance of testing equipment, and the handling of samples can all affect the results and need to be thoroughly examined.
Legal Procedures: Law enforcement and the courts must follow specific procedures in DUI cases. For instance, you must be advised of your rights, the evidence must be properly handled and preserved, and court proceedings must adhere to certain protocols. Any deviation from these procedures can potentially affect the outcome of the case.
Prior Convictions: Prior DUI convictions can significantly impact your case. However, room for dispute may exist over whether past offenses were constitutionally valid or if they should be legally considered in the new case.
Scientific Evidence: Presenting and interpreting scientific evidence, such as BAC levels or the effects of certain substances on the body, can be complex. Both the prosecution and defense may need expert witnesses to explain this evidence to the court.
Choose Experienced DUI Representation
At The Criminal Law Center, our team brings 50 years of combined experience to your DUI charge. We have helped thousands of individuals secure optimal outcomes through our intensive investigation into their cases, our trial skills, and our commitment to excellence in serving our clients.