If you are charged and convicted of a DUI or DWI in West Virginia, there is a strong chance you will spend time in jail. However, you need to remember that this is only if you are convicted of this crime. You are innocent until proven guilty, which is why it is imperative to secure strong legal counsel when faced with a DUI charge. Today, we go over the consequences of a DUI conviction and how much time you may need to face in jail.
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Will You Go to Jail for a First-Time DUI Offense?
If you are convicted of a first-time DUI, there is the possibility you will face 6 months of jail time as well as up to $500 in fines. Jail time is not mandatory for a conviction under this offense; however, the sentencing court may still impose this penalty. You could also face license suspension, mandatory DUI classes, and might also need to enroll in the ignition interlock device (IID) program.
There is good new though. Depending on your prior history, a judge may offer you a deferment. This will require a 15-day suspension, a 165-day IID, and an educational program. If you can satisfy the court by meeting those requirements, the judge might just drop charges.
How Can You Avoid Going to Jail for a DUI?
Your best bet is to consult with an experienced attorney who will fight to protect your rights. Your defense strategy will be unique to your case and depends on what events happened, the details related to the traffic stop, as well as the sobriety testing procedure used.
One defense that could be used is that the police offer responsible for the arrest made a technicality error during the sobriety test or while submitting paperwork. After an arrest review, if it is proven that there was a legality issue or mistake made, you could get your charges dismissed and avoid needing to go to jail.
Is a DUI Considered a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
First and second DUI charges in West Virginia are misdemeanors. A third DUI offense is a felony. Your first DUI in 10 years will also be considered a first DUI. Penalties for a third DUI include a minimum of two years in prison to up to five years, depending on the circumstances of your case. If you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and your impairment resulted in the death of someone, you could spend anywhere between 3 to 15 years in jail and separate vehicular homicide charges could be added.
Fighting a third DUI charge can prove difficult in West Virginia. Law enforcement and the court system take these cases very seriously. As such, having an experienced attorney on your side is crucial when it comes to defending yourself. With the right lawyer, you can fight the charges at hand or reduce them to minimize the effects associated with the penalties of a third DUI.
Let us help you defend your rights and protect your freedom. Contact us online or call (304) 867-0049 to schedule a consultation today.