A round of shots during happy hour after work or a Saturday night out at the club is all in good fun until someone makes the dangerous decision to drive home drunk. In the best of circumstances, you and your friends will make it home safely. However, drunk driving can lead to DUI charges if you’re pulled over by the police. In the worst of circumstances, drunk driving can cause an accident that seriously injures or kills another person.

What does the law say about drunk driving accidents?

In West Virginia, if a motorist is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causes a traffic accident that proximately causes the death of another, then that motorist will face a prison sentence of three to 15 years, and a fine ranging between $1,000 to $3,000.

If a motorist is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causes a traffic accident that proximately causes another to suffer serious bodily injury, then that motorist will face a prison sentence of two to 10 years, and a fine of $1,000 to $3,000. “Serious bodily injury” is defined as an injury wherein there is a substantial risk of death, resulting in prolonged disfigurement, prolonged health impairments or prolonged bodily function or organ impairments.

If a motorist is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causes a traffic accident that proximately causes another to suffer bodily injury, then that motorist will face a one-day to one-year jail sentence and a fine of $200 to $1,000. “Bodily injury” is defined as an injury that causes a person substantial physical pain, an impaired physical condition or a substantial illness.

Drunk driving – It’s just not worth the risk

A night out on the town with your buddies is one thing, but in the end drunk driving is not worth the risk. Anyone caught drunk driving could face criminal charges. Not only could a DUI affect your education goals and career, but you could end up seriously hurting or even killing another person in a drunk driving accident — something no one would intentionally do if they were driving sober.

Attorneys in Northern West Virginia and Ohio can help those facing serious DUI charges through a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop and arrest. But ultimately the best defense is to call an Uber, ride with a designated driver and take any other measures necessary to keep from driving after you have had too much to drink.