Man using breathalyzer

Can You Be Arrested in West Virginia While Under 0.08% BAC?

A lot of people think of 0.08% BAC as a magic number. They believe they’re free to enjoy themselves so long as they don’t’ hit that number. However, those people may not realize that you can be pulled over, arrested, and even lose your license while under 0.08% BAC.

The Magic Number

Most states allow a police officer to arrest a driver they believe presents signs of intoxication, even if their BAC is under 0.08%. In West Virginia, that number could be as low as 0.05%. According to the West Virginia Department of Transportation, drivers pulled over with a BAC above 0.05% “may result in the revocation of your driver’s license.”

The inconsistencies in enforcing these laws can cause serious damage. West Virginia has a table of increasingly severe punishments for alcohol-related suspensions. Even at the second offense, someone driving under the legal limit could feasibly face a steep fine and up to a year in prison.

West Virginia’s “Implied Consent” rule can create further hardship. If someone refuses a breathalyzer because they haven’t been drinking at all or because they know they’re under the limit, they can be charged on the spot. The penalty for refusing a breathalyzer is a fine and a day in jail, even if you were not driving under the influence.

Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers face even tighter restrictions. If someone operating a commercial vehicle registers as low as 0.04%, they could face a DUI charge. If that charge goes through, it could result in a suspended license. That effectively leaves a commercial driver without a source of income until the suspension expires.

If you were charged with driving under the influence, you might want legal representation. If you’d like an experienced Martinsburg DUI attorney from The Wagner Law Firm to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (304) 461-6000.