What some in the Wheeling area may argue is the biggest sporting event of the year — the Superbowl — is a great time to get together with your buddies and knock back a few beers. If your favorite team doesn’t win, what could make the evening even worse is if you got pulled over for drunk driving on the way home from the party.

Drunk driving is illegal in West Virginia, and a DUI conviction can lead to serious penalties. Some of these penalties include jail time, fines and the loss of your driver’s license. Of course, not all DUIs are the same. Depending on the situation, some DUI crimes are misdemeanors, while others are felonies.

The difference between misdemeanor and felony DUIs

While this list is not all-inclusive, depending on the circumstances a person who commits the following DUI crimes may be charged with a misdemeanor:

  • A person who drives impaired and/or has a blood alcohol concentration under 0.15% but does not cause another person to suffer injuries
  • A person who drives with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15% or above, but does not cause another person to suffer injuries
  • A person who drives impaired and causes someone else to suffer a bodily injury

However, depending on the circumstances, a DUI may be considered a felony if a person commits one of the following. Again, this list is not all-inclusive:

  • A person who drives impaired and proximately causes another person to suffer a serious bodily injury
  • A person who drives impaired and proximately causes another person to lose his or her life

West Virginia law provides definitions on what it means to be impaired, what a bodily injury is and what a serious bodily injury is. It may go without saying that felony DUI convictions are harsher than misdemeanor DUI convictions. Still, both can lead to fines and jail time. Depending on the circumstances, you may also lose your driver’s license if convicted of DUI. The loss of your driver’s license or having to spend time in jail can significantly impact your personal life. You could lose your job, and your reputation and relationships with others could suffer.

Fortunately, attorneys in Ohio County, Marshall County and the surrounding areas can assist those facing DUI charges. An aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney could be your greatest asset in a DUI case. However, it is also important that your attorney is compassionate. Those facing DUI charges are in a vulnerable position and need to work with people they can trust. We understand that sometimes a person takes a good time just a little too far and makes a one-time lapse in judgement. Those who want to learn more about DUIs in West Virginia can review our website for more information.