Here at DUINewsBlog.org, Harley Wagner, The Wagner Law Firm, West Virginia’s Premier DUI Defense Firm, constantly strives to bring readers the most current and up to date information on DUI related topics around his home state of West Virginia and throughout the nation generally.
This latest blog centers around a new West Virginia Interlock law that was passed by the West Virginia legislature on March 8, 2014 and will become effective law throughout West Virginia, June 8, 2014.
This new law will allow a citizen accused of DUI in West Virginia to forego the contesting of the citizen’s license administrative hearing, thus allowing the suspension to take effect without invoking the right to challenge this suspension at a subsequent license administrative hearing date and time.
To refresh DUINewsBlog.org readers: When a citizen is arrested in West Virginia for DUI, the arresting officer compiles what is called a statement of arresting officer which he/she then submits to the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles in which to ignite license suspension action against the citizen.
From there, approximately 30-45 days post arrest, the citizen receives a registered mail notice of revocation by the WV DMV, advising therein of the Division’s intent to suspend the citizen’s license as related to the DUI charge.
The nature of the DUI charge, such as first offense non-aggravated (.15), first offense refusal, first offense with injury, first offense with minor in vehicle, second offense, third offense, etc. governs the type of license suspension the citizen is facing.
For instance, a DUI 1st offense aggravated charge carries with it in West Virginia the possible license suspension penalty of a forty-five (45) day hard, no driving suspension, followed by nine (9) months mandatory interlock installation in the citizen’s vehicle from there.
Prior to this new law, the citizen, or their counsel, would invoke the citizen’s right to contest this suspension action by the WV DMV, which would then put the case in hearing status mode. By timely requesting a hearing and the right to contest the license suspension, this would stay, stop, halt any suspension action by our WV DMV against the citizen.
From there, the citizen receives any actual hearing date in the mail which is generally 6-10 months post arrest, with the citizen not only being allowed to lawfully drive this entire time period but also during the typical 4-5 months post hearing that it takes for the hearing decision to be returned from our Charleston based headquarters of the WV DMV. If it is determined to be a loser, the suspension then take s effect 10 days from the date the Final Decision Order was submitted.
With this new Interlock law coming to West Virginia June 8th of this 2014 year, the citizen can elect not to contest the suspension of his or her license, and using the hypothetical DUI 1st offense aggravated charge above, the citizen could then be afforded the opportunity not to have any “hard suspension” of the citizen’s license. In this hypothetical that would mean ten and one-half months of interlock installation in the citizen’s vehicle as opposed to an actual forty-five (45) day hard suspension of the citizen’s license followed by nine (9) months of interlock installation.
Basically, you total the suspension time periods together -hard and interlock- and you get to do the entire period on interlock as opposed to any hard suspension of the citizen’s license. In essence, this new law will be West Virginia’s version of “work restriction license privileges, that other states afford, in that if you do not or cannot risk any type of “hard suspension” of your driver’s license, you can elect not to contest this side of your DUI case and do the entire suspension period on Interlock, which means lawfully driving the entire underlying suspension period.
Obviously this new Interlock law will call for the citizen accused to reach out to a well trained, experienced West Virginia DUI Defense Attorney to thoroughly review the citizen’s case more so than ever before. Further, the timeliness of the citizen reaching out to an experienced, well trained West Virginia DUI Defense Attorney will now need to be made in the days immediately following arrest so as to afford as much time as possible for a thorough case review and analysis prior to the Notice of Revocation coming in the mail approximately 30 days post arrest.