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West Virginia Court Records

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What is a DUI and a DWI in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, Driving Under Influence ( DUI) and Driving With Intoxication/ While Impaired ( DWI) mean the same thing. The WV code (§17C–5–2) expresses both offenses to read as “Driving under influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or drugs”. In other words, driving under influence may be because of alcohol or drugs. The laws of the State tie the standard definition for this offense to a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08%. Otherwise. if a blood/urine test reveals intoxicating drugs, the basis for assessment shifts to medical guidelines. The legal provisions for the state view this class of traffic violations as serious traffic offenses, and as result, take them seriously.The law enforcement agencies (state and local) work with the judicial system (Magistrate and Municipal courts) and the Division of Motor Vehicles in the state to handle cases of DUI offenses.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in West Virginia?

The legal term used by West Virginia authorities is Driving Under Influence (DUI). However, defining influence as being under alcohol or under drugs will require testing. A breathalyzer can test for legal intoxication by alcohol, but will not return a test for drugs. Here, the individual involved must submit to a blood or urine test. Also, differences in court judgment may arise where influence is because of drugs. This is to say that there may be an associated component of drug abuse or drug trafficking to the case.

What happens when you get a DUI for the First Time in West Virginia?

West Virginia penalties against DUI are stiff relative to other states. A first-time DUI conviction bears the following consequences:

  • For blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than 0.15%: Fine payments between $100 and $500 and court costs; a mandatory minimum of 48 hours in jail; a licence revocation for at least 15 days along with a mandatory use of an ignition interlock device. Parties who refuse to install the device will face a license revocation of 6 months. Should the alleged party refuse to submit to a test, he or she faces the possibility of a one-year licence revocation.
  • BAC values of 0.15% and above: a jail time of up to 6 months; fine payments of up to $1000, and a license revocation of up to a year. If it has a felony component, penalties expand to meet the directives of the law regarding the felony.

Repeat offenses of either category will lead to increased fines, jail time and duration of license suspension. A first-time DUI offender has higher chances of getting a conviction dropped than a repeat offender under the West Virginia DUI Deferral Program. It however applies only to first time DUI offenders with BAC values less than 0.15%.

With the help of an experienced attorney, an offender can contest a DUI allegation in court if there are reasonable grounds for defense. It is important to have all facts and meet all deadlines of petition filings in order to be eligible for a hearing. For example, an alleged party must request a hearing within 30 days from arrest, or lose the chances of getting one. Felony DUI are more difficult to contest because of adjoining cases.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in West Virginia?

It is very likely. A minimum jail time of 48 hours is mandatory in West Virginia by law for all DUI convictions. An exception is if the individual involved moves to contest the case and post bail.Community service is not an alternative to jail time in the state.

What are the Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in West Virginia?

There are two sides to DUI conviction penalties in West Virginia: the administrative and criminal hearings. The administrative component handles the licence revocation process. Usually, the Division of Motor Vehicles schedule an administrative hearing to determine based on facts of the case how much time to allot to the revocation penalty. As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all for determining how long a license suspension would be. Rather, there are guidelines that provide the basis for the decision.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in West Virginia?

A DUI conviction stays on a driver’s record for at least 10 years. When this time lapses, the authorities handle any DUI conviction afterwards as a first-time offense. Repeat offenses will take longer than 10 years. Also note that even if a DUI conviction expires on a driving record, it will remain in criminal background check documents. Although they can be expunged following limited proceedings, felony associated DUIs are not eligible for expunction or withdrawal from the public.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

• The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile

• The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Find DUI Checkpoints in West Virginia?

West Virginia authorities allow for random sobriety testing of suspected drivers at scheduled DUI checkpoints as part of the state’s highway safety program. These checkpoints often look like roadblocks set up by the police. The authorities notify the public ahead of time of the exercise. At a roadblock, the officer flags down the road user and conducts basic sobriety tests such as appearance, assessment of alertness, and driving pattern. If there is a need, the officer orders for a BAC assessment.

Which is Worse; a DUI or DWI?

The term DUI covers for both driving offenses under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The severity of either case depends on several factors:

  • Whether it is a repeat or a first-time offense: repeat offenses are more serious than first time offenses
  • Involvement of adjoining crimes such as a felony or drug abuse/ trafficking: these criminal components have separate penalty systems that can complicate a DUI case.

What is an Aggravated DWI in West Virginia?

An aggravated DUI in West Virginia by state laws is when the BAC test returns a value higher than 0.15%. The penalty for an aggravated DUI is a minimum sentence of 48 hours; a compulsory installation of an ignition interlock device and a minimum fine of $200.

What Happens When You Get a DWI in West Virginia?

With the recent adjustments made to the judicial process for DUI offenses, the authorities now take administrative hearings along with the criminal hearings in one stride. Prior to this time, the Department of Motor Vehicles undertook administrative hearings, while the courts were in charge of criminal hearings. Charging to court involves the issuance of a traffic ticket, as applies to the offense, an arrest and a filing of the charges with the relevant court. The defendant has the right to legal counsel, but not a jury trial, unless there are felony associations with the case. If there are victims involved, they work together with prosecuting attorneys to collect evidence and build arguments. During this time, the defendant may also collect evidence and build a defense accordingly. Repeat DUI offenses may pose greater difficulties in getting the charges dropped or dismissed.

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