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Blog Posts in 2014

  • You may avoid DUI license suspension with quick action

    Like most other American locations, those charged with DUI in Berkeley and Jefferson counties run the risk of losing their driving privileges. However, it is important to remember that there are options at your disposal if you are facing such consequences. Despite any confidence you may have that you are not driving drunk, refusing a breath test during a DUI stop is not a good idea. In fact, it is ...
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  • DUI charges are not foolproof

    When someone in West Virginia is accused of DUI, it can have far-reaching consequences. In addition to the consequences of the justice system's sentencing and penalties, the individual may have to face much more significant concerns, such as reputation and future lifestyle changes. This may be the case in a recent DUI arrest where the spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Transportation ...
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  • West Virginians at higher risk for DUI stops this month

    No matter where you live in West Virginia, chances are good that you’ve seen more law enforcement officers out on the state’s roads and highways recently. You might have also noticed an increase in the number of DUI checkpoints. This increased enforcement period occurs multiple times of year around holidays associated with higher rates of drunk driving. And with Christmas and New Year’s ...
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  • Reasonable suspicion & probable cause: What's the difference?

    In our post last week, we discussed the types of circumstances under which police can initiate a traffic stop. In order for the stop to be considered valid, the officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” that criminal activity may have taken place, often drunk driving . Most Americans outside the criminal justice system are familiar with the term “probable cause.” While reasonable ...
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  • DUI traffic stops and what constitutes 'reasonable suspicion'

    There are certain parts of Jefferson and Berkeley Counties that are hot spots for drunk-driving arrests. In Jefferson County, for instance, it is common for drivers to get pulled over after leaving the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The reasons for extra police presence are obvious. If a given area is known for high rates of drunk driving, law enforcement agencies will focus resources ...
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  • What should I consider before taking or refusing a breath test?

    Today is the busiest travel day of the year, and with good reason. Thanksgiving is a short holiday with little time off of work, yet most of us can’t imagine spending Thanksgiving without our families. As such, we rush to make the trip in time. Because Thanksgiving often includes alcoholic drinks (at home or at a bar catching up with friends), there will likely be more law enforcement officers ...
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  • DUI charges and sentencing considerations in West Virginia

    Penalties associated with a conviction for driving under the influence vary based on a number of important factors. One of these is whether the DUI offense was charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. But how do prosecutors decide which offenses are felonies and which are misdemeanors? And what other factors could influence DUI charges in your case? In today’s post, we’ll discuss some ...
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  • West Virginia Supreme Court delivers ruling on DUI blood tests

    There are sometimes discrepancies between the three primary methods of measuring blood-alcohol concentration. Most readers are familiar with the breath test (commonly referred to as a breathalyzer), but BAC can also be measured with blood or urine tests as well. If you fail a breath test and believe that the results may have been inaccurate, West Virginia law allows you to request a blood test ...
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  • Questions of probable cause in DUI stops can be tricky

    We have previously written that drunk driving charges can often be contested based on the legitimacy of the traffic stop. A police officer needs to have probable cause in order to pull over a suspect. Police don’t necessarily need to suspect drunk driving right away, but the stop cannot be based solely on a “hunch” or “gut feeling.” Usually, the officer needs to observe erratic driving, ...
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  • On Halloween weekend, increased DUI enforcement likely in effect

    Halloween is being celebrated this weekend. For kids across West Virginia, Friday night will be their chance to don costumes, head out into their neighborhoods and collect candy. But kids aren’t the only ones having fun this weekend. Many adults like Halloween, too, and the costume parties they throw often come with plenty of alcohol. If you plan on attending some grown-up Halloween celebrations ...
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  • Implied consent laws: What do they have to do with breathalyzers?

    In our post last week, we mentioned what are called “implied consent” laws. You have probably heard that term before but may be unsure of what it means. Today, we’ll talk about what these laws are and why you will probably lose your driver’s license if you are pulled over for drunk driving and refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test. Like all states, West Virginia has an implied consent ...
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  • No DUI blood test without a warrant, appellate court rules

    The Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. Courts have long held that a person has the greatest expectation of Fourth Amendment protection in his home. As such, it stands to reason that a person’s body should be considered even more sacred than his home and entitled to the greatest protection. When an individual is ...
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  • Court rules for DUI defendant not allowed to challenge test results

    Say that you are pulled over by an officer who suspects drunk driving. After field sobriety tests, the officer administers a breath-alcohol test (commonly called a breathalyzer). The results show that you are over the legal limit, but you strongly suspect that the device gave an inaccurate reading. Now imagine that prosecutors are charging you with driving under the influence . You want to defend ...
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  • DUI traffic stops and your Fourth Amendment rights

    We have previously written that drunk driving charges can be challenged if evidence may have been tainted, tests may have been administered incorrectly or the traffic stop was not legitimate. Today, we’ll discuss traffic stops in greater detail. Most people don’t realize it, but an illegitimate traffic stop may be a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. The Constitution’s Fourth ...
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  • How a drunk driving conviction could impact your employment

    Getting arrested for drunk driving is scary. But one consequence few people think about at the time is how DUI charges could impact their career. This includes how such charges could affect their current job or future employment offers. For better and worse, we are now in the age of instantly available information. Unfortunately, this means that in addition to doing criminal background checks, ...
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