It started out as great night of partying with friends. It was so much fun, but eventually it was time to go home. You felt fine at this point and just wanted to go to bed. Unfortunately, you had a broken taillight and were pulled over on a stretch of road you have driven literally hundreds of times.
While it may seem like the best night in a while turned into the worst night ever, there was no accident and this was your first DUI/OUI offense. These two factors definitely work in your favor. But there are a number of things to consider if you do get pulled over by the authorities in West Virginia.
- Be polite but do not admit to anything even if you test over the BAC limit.
- The officer may administer a field test to determine whether there is probable cause for arrest before arresting you. Field tests like finger to nose and walking a straight line are admissible as evidence. The officer gets to choose which test to use.
- If you are lawfully arrested by an officer who believes you have been operating a vehicle under the influence, West Virginia’s implied consent law requires that you take a blood, breath or urine test. Implied consent law means that because you are driving a car that you agree to a suspension of your license for one year if you refuse the test. The officer can still arrest you even if you do refuse the BAC test.
- It generally doesn’t help to refuse because you can still be convicted in a court of law — the prosecution will simply use your refusal as proof that you knew you were intoxicated.
- The penalty for first offense West Virginia is $100 to $500 and you face up to six months in jail. If you refuse your BAC test you automatically forfeit your license for one year or 45 days with an additional year with ignition interlock. If you choose the latter, you cannot appeal.
- West Virginia has a zero tolerance DUI/OUI laws for minors.
- It’s called an “Aggravated DUI” if your BAC tests 0.15 to .20. The punishment and penalties will be harsher if this is the case, even if it is your first one.
If you are arrested for DUI or OUI, the best advice is to hire an attorney experienced in this field as early in the case as possible. They can often help reduce fines and penalties if you are a first-time offender.