In West Virginia, there are laws in place that determine how DUI-related cases will be handled. However, there are actually some differences in how these cases may be handled depending on whether a driver is accused of consuming alcohol, or using drugs.

FindLaw takes a moment to remind readers that DUI laws apply to any sort of substance abuse while driving. Though alcohol is often what comes to mind first, DUI laws also cover illicit or controlled substances, too. Despite how common alcohol-related DUIs can seem, drug-related DUIs actually tend to carry heftier penalties. For example, in West Virginia, there is a law that prohibits known drug addicts or habitual users from operating motor vehicles at all. Five other states have similar laws.

The West Virginia Legislature makes it very clear that driving under the influence of drugs – or other controlled substances like painkillers or narcotics – can bring convicted drivers some severe consequences. The severity of these penalties will depend on whether or not any other crimes were committed, if any minors were in the car at the time of the suspect’s arrest, if anyone was hurt, or if any property was damaged. However, fines can reach upwards of $3,000. Jail terms and court fees can be lengthy too, and license suspension can last years.

Additionally, many people who are arrested and charged with drug-related DUIs will also face the penalties of possessing or using illicit substances, or abusing controlled substances. This can add even larger fines, fees, and longer jail time. Many individuals seek the aid of an attorney because of this.