Take it from a West Virginia DUI defense attorney: I’ve represented more than 300 people who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and it’s never easy. In West Virginia, first-time DUI offenders must attend hearings (and sometimes even alcohol and highway safety classes), pay fines and install ignition-interlock devices on their vehicles – which is to say nothing of the embarrassment many of them feel when their family, friends, and coworkers find out about their charges.
While news of many DUI charges is limited to a few paragraphs buried deep within a police beat, some defendants’ jobs make their DUIs a smidge more newsworthy. You’ve likely seen the clips yourself: Television and print media seem to devote more time to driving-under-the-influence charges if it’s a public figure – a politician or police officer or educator. Most recently, the director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Transportation was charged with DUI. Police said the man, Brent Walker, was stopped after allegedly failing to signal when he changed lanes before crossing a bridge in Charleston. Officers said Walker failed two field sobriety tests, and that breath tests showed he had a blood-alcohol content of .107 percent.
In West Virginia, a driver is considered to be impaired if their BAC is more than .08 percent. We live in a society where DUIs are – understandably – frowned upon, and I assure you, there is no special treatment for folks whose jobs put them in the public eye. While it is important for anyone charged with driving under the influence offense to hire a lawyer who focuses on DUI defense, it is doubly important for those in high-profile jobs to do so. There’s that much more on the line.