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What Happens After a DUI Arrest?

Being pulled over for driving under the influence can be a frightening and embarrassing occurrence. If you have never experienced a DUI arrest before, you probably know little about what happens after your arrest. Basically, you will be subject to two processes.

These processes are:

  • The West Virginia criminal court process
  • The West Virginia DMV process

Each process carries its own procedures and penalties. Learning how they work can give you some prediction and a measure of understanding. However, your best action to take to increase your chances for saving your reputation, possibly your job, your driving privileges, and your sense of dignity is to hire a competent DUI lawyer. The Wagner Law Firm, serving clients across the state, is the only law firm in West Virginia that exclusively handles DUI cases giving it a strong advantage. With 22 years of experience, Attorney Harley Wagner is the obvious choice for increasing your chances for a favorable outcome.

The West Virginia Criminal Court Process

Once you have been arrested for DUI, your next step will be a booking and an arraignment which may occur the same day as your arrest or the following day. You will appear before a Magistrate at the arraignment who will either set bond or allow you to be released on your recognizance. That decision will be up to the Magistrate. During the arraignment, a date will be set for your next court appearance, called a Preliminary Hearing.

Your court case will be subject to court availability and schedules. You will have the opportunity to have your day in court, hopefully represented by a reputable attorney such as Harley Wagner. On a first-offense DUI, you will be facing potential penalties of up to six months in jail and up to $500 in fines. However, no minimum jail time is necessary if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) did not exceed .15 percent. In cases where your BAC measured .15 percent or you are facing a repeat offense, you will face a minimum jail sentence, potentially longer overall sentences, and increased fines.

The DUI Deferral Program in West Virginia

In a first offense with a BAC below .15 percent, you can request to be placed into the West Virginia DUI Deferral program either at your arraignment or your Preliminary Hearing. Under this program, your license will be suspended for 15 days followed by 165 days where you will drive with an ignition interlock device installed and maintained in your vehicle. You can request this program from the court within 30 days of being arrested.

The West Virginia DMV Process

Your DUI arrest will trigger the DMV process. The DMV will inform you of the facts of your case and what you can do to reinstate your license. This usually involves a license suspension as well as the requirements for being able to drive with an ignition interlock device. As stated above, this is usually a 15-day suspension and a 165-day ignition interlock period. If your BAC exceeded .15 percent, if you caused an accident involving injury or death, if you refused to take a BAC test, or if you were driving with a minor in your car, your license suspension and ignition interlock period will be longer.

You will also likely be required to take a DUI Safety Treatment Program in order to drive as well. West Virginia has a Test & Lock Program department that must approve your application for an ignition interlock device. Once approved, you will only be able to have such a device installed in your car by a state-certified vendor.

Talk to The Wagner Law Firm About Your Case

Your best chance for an optimum outcome based on the facts of your case can be significantly raised with the right legal representation. The Wagner Law Firm handles DUI cases day in and day out. Attorney Wagner has exceptional experience, training, and national recognition by legal industry organizations. All of these attributes can work to benefit you.

Fight the consequences of your DUI with our help. Call (304) 461-6000 or contact us online to schedule your free case review today.