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DUI Deferral Program

Understanding West Virginia’s DUI Deferral Program

In 2010, West Virginia implemented a program designed to give first-time DUI offenders a second chance. This initiative, known as the DUI Deferral Program, was launched alongside Senate Bill 186. Under this program, qualifying individuals can have their first DUI offense charges dismissed in criminal court, effectively erasing the arrest from their records, provided their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was below .15% at the time of the offense.

However, it’s crucial to be aware that if you’re charged with DUI a second time anywhere in the United States, your previous deferral and guilty plea may influence the severity of the penalties for the subsequent offense. If you enter a guilty plea as part of this program, the charges are not entirely erased.

These legal intricacies can be perplexing, creating understandable concern about potential repercussions. Seeking guidance from knowledgeable Fairmont criminal lawyers, such as those found at the Mountaineer Criminal Law Group, can be instrumental in navigating your case toward a favorable outcome.

Eligibility Criteria for the WV DUI Deferral Program

The qualifications for the DUI Deferral Program, as per Code 17C-5-2 in West Virginia, include:

  • The driver must be facing their first DUI charge, having driven under the influence or while impaired.
  • The driver’s BAC must be lower than .15% at the time of the arrest.
  • The driver must not have any prior DUI convictions either within West Virginia or elsewhere in the United States.
  • The individual should not have a past DUI-related license suspension.
  • The person must not possess a Commercial Driving License (CDL).
  • The individual must not carry previous charges involving drug-impaired driving, driving with a minor in the vehicle, or causing injuries during a DUI incident.

Navigating the Process: How to Apply for the DUI Deferral Program

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to gain entry into West Virginia’s DUI Deferral Program:

  1. Notify the court within 30 days post-arrest of your intent to enter the DUI Deferral Program.
  2. Withhold entering a guilty plea or accepting a conviction until the court indicates agreement with your participation.
  3. Undergo the conditional dismissal duration or ‘informal probation’ until you are officially admitted into the program.
  4. Consent to a 15-day driving privilege suspension.
  5. Install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for 165 days following the 15-day license revocation.
  6. Upon completing these stipulations, file a motion to dismiss the charges against you.
  7. Submit an affidavit confirming your completion of the Lock Program and adherence to the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test, understanding that the prosecution retains the right to object.

Clearing Your Record Post-Deferral

Once a year has passed since your DUI charges were dismissed, you can petition the court to expunge your records. The prosecution is given thirty days to raise objections to this motion.

Should the expungement be granted, the court instructs the clerk within the relevant  county  jurisdiction to execute the order. To ensure the deferral’s success, you must adhere to the ignition interlock agreement. Violation within the 165-day period invalidates the program, converting your status to that of a convicted individual. Expungement is restricted to criminal records and does not apply to driving records.

In cases involving previous felonies, the expungement occurs only after the dismissal of the DUI charges. For more comprehensive information and personalized legal advice about West Virginia’s DUI Deferral Program, consider consulting with a Fairmont DUI Lawyer at Mountaineer Criminal Law Group.

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