What Aggravating Circumstances Lead to a WV DUI Felony?
By: Harley O. Wagner, WV DUI Attorney and Drunk Driving Book Author
People call my Martinsburg DUI law firm all the time and ask, “Is a WV DUI a felony?” My answer always is, “Well, it depends on the circumstances.” Over 90% of all drunk driving or drugged driving arrests in West VA end up as a misdemeanor charge, especially first DUIs. What makes an impaired driving arrest turn into a felony, or multiple felonies, depends on several case facts.
For one, the level of the charge depends on how many DUIs you have already been convicted of, or have pending. This includes drunk driving and drugged driving arrests in other states, not just in WV.
West Virginia DUI laws state that your 3rd DUI is a felony if you have two prior DUI convictions anywhere in the United States within 10 years of the current offense date. The ten-year lookback period counts the time between offense dates, not conviction dates.
For example, if you were arrested in Tennessee for driving under the influence on the night of January 1, 2009, you may not have been convicted of the charge until April 2011. If you then get arrested for driving above the BAC limit in West VA on January 1, 2017, the prosecutor will use the January 1, 2009 date as the starting point. Thus the time elapsed will be 8 years.
These lookback period cases can be complicated, and prosecutors have made mistakes when determining the 10-year period. That is why you need one of the best WV DUI lawyers to represent you and make sure your rights are protected. Harley Wagner is available 24/7 to take your call and discuss your case.
DUI Causing Death Is a Felony in WV
If your impaired driving causes the death of someone in your vehicle, in another vehicle that you hit, or to a pedestrian, you will be charged with felony DUI. West Virginia law carries severe DUI felony penalties when there is a death of one or more people involved.
Mandatory state penitentiary jail time can be up to 15 years, on top of heavy court fines, lengthy probation, DUI class, loss of driver’s license, and the required installation and monitoring of an ignition interlock device.
DUI death cases are very serious and lengthy. WV DUI lawyer Harley Wagner has represented many clients charged with a felony DUI with a death involved, and he will work very hard to defend you the whole way.
DUI Fleeing Is Also a Felony
If a police officer clearly indicated to you to pull over and instead you kept driving, you may be charged with DUI fleeing, another type of felony charge in our State. Fleeing from an officer and later being chased down and arrested for driving drunk is a very serious offense.
Jail time in a state penitentiary ranges from a minimum of 3 years to a maximum of 10 years. Let Harley Wagner thoroughly review the evidence in your case to see if your intention was to actually flee from the police, or you have another provable reason for not pulling over when you saw the blue lights and heard the siren.
Obtain your FREE lawyer consultation with Harley Wagner at The Wagner Law Firm, and get more information about what to do next. Call now by dialing 304-901-7400.
The professional DUI WV case assessment is FREE and you can shift this burden off your shoulders and onto the shoulders of a highly-acclaimed drunk driving attorney in Martinsburg WV – Harley Wagner.
Mr. Wagner has been rated a WV Super Lawyer 5 years in a row.