In West Virginia, drivers have a choice after a DUI conviction: no driving or driving with an ignition interlock device. Depending on your circumstances, losing transportation is a non-starter. So, what can you do to get your license back after a DUI?
All DUI convictions in West Virginia come with the required completion of a DUI safety and treatment program before your license can be reinstated. It’s also important to remember that your chances of getting your license back depend on the nature of your DUI and the number of offenses within the last ten years.
For example, if DUI led to the death of another person, your chances of getting your license back are slim.
Additionally, your license could be reinstated with conditions. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 0.15%, the charge is elevated to an aggravated DUI. This means that you could face higher fines and a lengthy license suspension period.
First Time DUI
If you are charged with a first-time DUI, you can choose license suspension or drive with an ignition interlock device. Aggravated DUI charges can result in one year of license suspension or installation of an ignition interlock device for at least 315 days.
You may be able to get your conviction dismissed through deferral. This means that instead of a guilty verdict, the court will allow you to complete the Interlock Program in exchange for case dismissal. This option is only available to first offenders.
Multiple DUI Convictions Within 10 Years
For drivers convicted of multiple DUIs within ten years, you face license suspension for at least ten years or the installation of an ignition interlock device for three years. Three or more DUI offenses within ten years will result in permanent license suspension.
Can I Have My DUI Charge Reduced?
You may be wondering, “if I can’t get my license back, can I get my sentence reduced?” The short answer is yes, but let’s take a closer look at your options.
In some cases, you may be able to plead with the court for a reckless driving charge over a DUI. This is referred to as “wet reckless.” Changing a DUI to a reckless charge often means lower fines and less jail time in addition to a shorter suspension period.
Many states allow the court to suspend a driver’s license for reckless driving, but suspension is mandatory for DUI convictions. DUIs also add more demerit points to your driving record than a wet reckless charge.
While changing the charges to a wet reckless conviction, it is important to understand that it may still count as a prior DUI. This means that if you were to get another DUI, the court would cite your wet reckless conviction as a first offense DUI which can increase the penalties.
Aggravating factors in your case may also make reducing your sentence unlikely. For example, if you drive under the influence and cause an accident that kills or injures another driver, the prosecutor probably won’t reduce your sentence.
On the other hand, the court is more likely to reduce a DUI charge if the following factors apply to your case:
- It’s your first DUI offense
- You do not have a criminal record
- Your BAC at the time of arrest was low
If the above mitigating factors apply to you, you may be able to reduce the DUI charge and get your license back quicker.
Where Do I Start?
If you plan to ask for a sentence reduction or dismissal, contact an attorney. The Wagner Law Firm has over two decades of experience helping clients protect their driving rights in West Virginia. The firm is dedicated solely to DUI cases, so you can be sure that founding attorney Harley Wagner will be focused on your case.
Contact The Wagner Law Firm for more information.