When an accident results in injury or fatality, investigators will look into every possible reason as to why the crash occurred. As drunk driving accidents are fairly common in West Virginia, authorities are likely to first consider if impairment played a role in a serious motor vehicle incident. If a driver who is believed responsible for a crash with injuries or fatalities is found to have been drunk or otherwise intoxicated at the time of the incident, he or she is likely to face felony charges.
A conviction of driving while impaired can garner significant penalties -- such as jail time, hefty fines and the loss of driving privileges. Those who have caused serious accidents while driving under the influence may face more severe consequences. These include longer jail terms or imprisonment and larger fines -- among others.
After a serious accident occurs, the officers on scene will likely attempt sobriety testing via field tests and/or by requesting a breath test. If the accused is injured and requires medical treatment, blood-alcohol testing may be performed at the hospital instead. West Virginia does have mandatory DUI testing laws. However, drivers may still choose to refuse these tests, though this cannot be done without possible consequences.
In West Virginia, a felony charge following a drunk driving accident will not be taken lightly in court. An individual who stands accused of causing a DUI-related accident may have a long and difficult legal battle in his or her future. These cases can be difficult to fight. However, there are always various defense strategies that may be utilized to help resolve the matter with the best interests of the accused in mind.
Source: FindLaw, "Drunk Driving Accidents", Accessed on Dec. 23, 2015