The WV DMV Can Take Away Your Driver’s License After a DUI Arrest
Did you know that according to WV DUI law, in certain circumstances you could lose your driver’s license permanently after a DUI arrest? If you refuse to take a chemical test (breath, blood), your license can be suspended a full 45 days, and in some instances FOR LIFE.
If you refuse the chemical test, you will have 45 days with no driving whatsoever, followed by 12 months of an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, which determines the level of alcohol in your system prior to the vehicle starting. Alternatively, you can request one full year with no driving whatsoever.
Unlike some states, West Virginia does not afford work privileges on a license suspended for DUI. Each suspension period is a “hard suspension” with NO driving at all – period! Further, if you have a prior WV DUI license suspension within a 10-year period, you will face even harsher license suspension possibilities. West Virginia DUI lawyer Harley Wagner knows West Virginia DMV laws. It is important to consult with him right away after a WV DUI arrest.
Remember, in West Virginia you do NOT have the right to speak with an attorney before making the decision to take a chemical test or not. But once you decide to seek legal advice, you should reach out to The Wagner Law Firm immediately if you want to save your driver’s license.
Harley Wagner’s law firm is the only one in the entire state of West Virginia that focuses only on DUI cases. Therefore, Harley knows exactly how to help you keep your driver’s license after your arrest. Harley will fight to keep your license.
However, if there is a license suspension, Harley may advise you to participate in the WV alcohol test and lock program. This entails installing an interlock device into your car that you will be required to blow into in order to start your car.
Use of this device can substantially reduce your license suspension period and often will be mandatory for lawful driving. If your BAC is above .04, the interlock is activated and your vehicle will not start. What’s worse is that you will be kicked out of the program. The benefit of this program is that upon completion, you may reinstate your full driving privileges.
The alcohol test and lock program does cost money, with fees for installation and monthly charges. You can learn more at the WV DMV.
If you choose to participate in the alcohol test and lock program, you can be back driving after only 15 days. If you don’t participate in the WV alcohol test and lock program, you won’t be able to lawfully drive for at least 90 days (and, in most cases, you won’t be able to lawfully drive for the rest of your life) according to WV DUI law.
You will have to complete the WV safety and treatment program in any case if you want your driving privileges reinstated.
In West Virginia, there are two types of DUI first offense charges. If your BAC is .15 or lower, it is called “non-aggravated DUI.” If your BAC is higher than .15, the charge will be “aggravated DUI.” When it comes to your license, with a non-aggravated DUI, you can choose 90 days of no driving, or 15 days with no driving, plus 120 days with an interlock/blow tube (as discussed above).
With an aggravated DUI, there is a mandatory 45 days of no driving and 9 months with the interlock/blow tube. Note that out of state-licensed drivers are treated the exact same as if they held a West Virginia driver’s license. This is true unless you do not own a vehicle, which then allows you to request a flat six months no driving in West Virginia with no mandatory interlock device. Harley has years of experience in this area, and he can help with this request.
If you have been convicted of one other DUI within the past 10 years, your license will be suspended (no driving) for 1 year. Then you will be required to have a blow tube for 2 years. A third DUI within 10 years means no driving for a year and then 3 years with the blow tube device installed on your vehicle.
If you maintain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the penalties are even more severe. A first offense drunk driving conviction carries a mandatory 1-year suspension in all 50 states per Federal law. A second offense carries a mandatory lifetime suspension. Harley Wagner has defended numerous citizens accused of DUI in West Virginia who maintain a commercial driver’s license, and is well versed in all aspects of handling a WV DUI case with a client who holds a CDL license.
If your DUI case is one that is approved for the West Virginia DUI Deferral Program, where your alleged BAC is < .15, or you refused the breath machine at the police station after arrest, then you are looking at a 15-day suspension and 165 days of interlock installation in your vehicle.
Or you can request a 45-day hard suspension followed by 12 months interlock installation in your vehicle for your criminal DUI 1st offense case to be dismissed. (*In order to qualify, you cannot have a prior DUI conviction in your lifetime or a DUI-related license suspension – and you must make a request to the court for the Deferral Program within 30 days of the date of your arrest.)
In many states, there are ways to get back behind the wheel immediately. But in West Virginia, even a first-time offender cannot drive with restrictions, or even get a permit to drive to and from work. The only way to reduce the length of your suspension is to participate in the alcohol test and lock program.
That is why it is essential that you speak with Harley Wagner quickly. He can tell you how to get involved with this program and how it will help get you back on the road quickly.
Of further note, on June 6, 2014, our West Virginia legislature enacted a new interlock law whereby a citizen can forego contesting his or her license suspension and be afforded the ability to do the entire suspension period on interlock without any hard suspension issued.
For example, on a DUI 1st offense where the BAC is alleged to be > .15, the citizen can elect not to contest the DMV suspension and therein do the entire ten and one-half month suspension all on interlock, foregoing the actual 45-day hard suspension of your driver’s license.
Harley Wagner knows this new interlock law inside and out and how it could potentially benefit your DUI case. (*This new interlock law does not apply to a Deferral Program case.)
Remember, you could lose your driver’s license forever if you don’t take the necessary steps following your DUI arrest. This whole ordeal can be very confusing, and that is why it’s in your best interest to sit down with Harley Wagner right away. The faster you speak with an experienced DUI lawyer like Harley, the easier getting back your driver’s license will be. Don’t wait any longer.