Any case in which you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Wheeling should be taken seriously. Having said that, not every DUI offense is created equal. Many come to us here at the Scott C. Brown Law Office after having been arrested for DUI concerned that they could be facing jail time. While there are certainly serious consequences to can accompany any DUI conviction (some of which may fall outside of the realm of criminal law), the penalties that you might face vary depending on what form of DUI you are charged with. This begs the question of when is a DUI a misdemeanor in West Virginia, and when is it a felony?
In most cases, a DUI charge will be a misdemeanor. For example, if your current predicament represents your first offense, then you likely will only be charged with a misdemeanor. This is not true in every case, however. According to the West Virginia Legislature, if your alleged DUI resulted in serious bodily to or the death of another, you will be charged with a felony. The state does differentiate between “bodily harm” and “serious bodily harm” in this instance. “Serious bodily harm” is that which can produce:
- A substantial risk of death
- Serious or prolonged disfigurement
- Prolonged impaired health
- Prolonged loss of or impairment to any bodily organ
A third or subsequent DUI offense will also result in a felony charge. Do not think, however, that a misdemeanor DUI will only result in aa slap on the wrist. Depending on whether there were aggravating factors involved in your case, a misdemeanor could still net from very serious penalties. More information on differentiating felony from misdemeanor offenses can be found here on our site.