When you get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in Martinsburg, WV, it automatically triggers two separate proceedings with the local court. The first is the administrative license revocation and the second is criminal court for the crime of driving while impaired. Each of these hearings require separate court dates, usually in separate locations. You will appear before two different judges as well.
The outcome of your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing is critical because it determines when or if you will receive your driver’s license back. It’s in your best interest to retain an experienced DUI lawyer from The Riddell Law Group as soon as possible to represent you at the administrative license revocation and during your criminal court date.
What is Administrative License Revocation?
When a Martinsburg, Charles Town, or Berkeley Springs WV police officer places a driver under arrest for DUI, it triggers an automatic license hearing. This is an attempt by the DMV to revoke your West Virginia driver’s license. You have just 30 days in West Virginia to challenge an administrative license revocation notice. DUI lawyers often refer to this as the contesting period.
If you don’t contest the driver’s license revocation within 30 days, you will not have an opportunity for a new hearing. Additionally, the revocation by the police officer who arrested you for DUI will stand if you don’t contest it. It’s critical that you work with an experienced DUI attorney to represent you at your DMV hearing if you hope to retain your driving privileges.
Penalties for DUI in West Virginia
Although West Virginia considers a first DUI a misdemeanor, that doesn’t mean you won’t potentially suffer serious consequences because of it. You typically won’t receive a jail sentence for a first offense unless you register a blood alcohol level (BAC) greater than .15 percent. If charged, you could face minimum jail time of 48 hours and a maximum of six months.
Most first-time DUI convictions result in a fine or a deferral if you registered at least a .08 percent BAC. You can expect the fine to be much higher if your BAC registers over .15 percent. You could also lose your license for up to one year if you refuse to take a sobriety test. However, you may be able to drive again within 45 days after the installation of an ignition interlock device.
West Virginia law requires you to keep the ignition interlock device installed for a minimum of 125 days. If you refuse to do so, the state will revoke your driver’s license for six months compared to up to 45 days when you do have the device in place.
Finally, the West Virginia DMV requires you to submit proof of auto insurance, also known as proof of financial responsibility, before accepting you into the Test and Lock Program or reinstating your driver’s license. This means you will need to obtain a SR22 certificate. The SR22 is a document identifying you as a high-risk driver and proof that you carry auto insurance. You can expect your auto insurance premium to cost significantly more if the charge of DUI against you stands. Every category of consequences for a second or third DUI is more severe than what you see here.
Obtain Qualified Legal Representation Before Your Court Dates
We can’t state enough how important it is for you to attend your criminal court case and administrative license revocation with an experienced DUI lawyer. Our lawyers will use every opportunity to challenge your case and help retain your right to drive. A dismissal of charges also means the DUI won’t follow you and make it difficult to obtain employment, credit, or housing. Please contact our Martinsburg, WV law office today to learn more about how we can help you.