As we discuss below, when convicted of a DUI in West Virginia, YOU get a choice: No driving or install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Unlike other states, West Virginia does not allow work privileges on a suspended license due to a DUI conviction. You cannot legally drive anywhere in the state – even to work – after such a conviction. So, how do you get your license back? What steps can you take to start driving again?
License Suspension Penalties for Non-Aggravated and Aggravated DUI Convictions:
Any time you get a DUI conviction in West Virginia, you must complete a comprehensive DUI safety and treatment program before your driving privileges will be reinstated. Beyond that, the severity of penalties depends upon your blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”), participation in the West Virginia Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program (“Interlock Program”), and the number of DUI offenses you have committed within the past 10 years.
Your BAC determines which type of DUI conviction you received. A BAC of less than .15% results in a “non-aggravated DUI,” while a BAC of .15% or more results in an “aggravated DUI.” Generally, penalties for an aggravated DUI are more severe, including higher fines, a lengthier driver’s license suspension period, and a likelihood of mandatory substance abuse treatment.
License Suspension Penalties for First-Time DUI Convictions:
For a first-time DUI offense, West Virginia provides drivers an option between a license suspension—No driving at all!—or the installation of an ignition interlock device as required by the Interlock Program. For a non-aggravated DUI, you choose to either serve a 6-month driving suspension or install an ignition interlock device in your car for a minimum of 140 days. For an aggravated DUI, you choose between a 1-year driving suspension or installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a minimum of 315 days.
Deferral and Dismissal of a First-Time, Non-Aggravated DUI:
If you receive a first-time, non-aggravated DUI conviction and have never previously committed a DUI offense, you are eligible to have the conviction dismissed through the deferral process. This means that rather than enter a judgment of guilt, the court will pause the proceedings and give you 1 year to complete the Interlock Program. If you successfully complete the Interlock Program’s minimum 180-day ignition interlock device period within one year, your non-aggravated DUI conviction can be dismissed.
Subsequent DUI Convictions within 10 years:
If you are convicted of a second DUI offense within 10 years, your driver’s license will be suspended for 10 years or you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a minimum of 3 years. A third or subsequent DUI offense within 10 years will result in your license being suspended for life or the required installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least 4 years.
Driving Restrictions in West Virginia:
It is important to note that if you are convicted a first-time DUI in West Virginia, you cannot drive. Even a first-time offender cannot drive without restrictions or get a permit to drive to and from work. If you want to keep your license, you must complete the DUI safety and treatment program in addition to participating in the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program.