Senate
House
Joint
Bill Status
WV Code
Audits/ Reports
Educational
Contact
home
home

West Virginia Code

Search

Chapter 17 C     Entire Code
‹ Chapter 17  |  Chapter 17A › Printer Friendly Versions
Chapter 17C  |  Article 17C - 5  |  Section 11
WVC 17 C- CHAPTER 17C. TRAFFIC REGULATIONS AND LAWS OF THE ROAD.
WVC 17 C- 5 - ARTICLE 5. SERIOUS TRAFFIC OFFENSES.

WVC 17C-5-1 §17C-5-1. Negligent homicide; penalties.
(a) When the death of any person ensues within one year as a proximate result of injury received by the driving of any vehicle anywhere in this state in reckless disregard of the safety of others, the person so operating such vehicle shall be guilty of negligent homicide.

(b) Any person convicted of negligent homicide shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year or by fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(c) The commissioner shall revoke the license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privilege of any person convicted of negligent homicide.

WVC 17 C- 5 - 2 §17C-5-2. Driving under influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs; penalties.
(a) Any person who:

(1) Drives a vehicle in this state while he or she:

(A) Is under the influence of alcohol;

(B) Is under the influence of any controlled substance;

(C) Is under the influence of any other drug;

(D) Is under the combined influence of alcohol and any controlled substance or any other drug; or

(E) Has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths of one percent or more, by weight; and

(2) While driving does any act forbidden by law or fails to perform any duty imposed by law in the driving of the vehicle, which act or failure proximately causes the death of any person within one year next following the act or failure; and

(3) Commits the act or failure in reckless disregard of the safety of others and when the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs is shown to be a contributing cause to the death, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than two years nor more than ten years and shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $3,000.

(b) Any person who:

(1) Drives a vehicle in this state while he or she:

(A) Is under the influence of alcohol;

(B) Is under the influence of any controlled substance;

(C) Is under the influence of any other drug;

(D) Is under the combined influence of alcohol and any controlled substance or any other drug;

(E) Has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths of one percent or more, by weight; and

(2) While driving does any act forbidden by law or fails to perform any duty imposed by law in the driving of the vehicle, which act or failure proximately causes the death of any person within one year next following the act or failure, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for not less than ninety days nor more than one year and shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000.

(c) Any person who:

(1) Drives a vehicle in this state while he or she:

(A) Is under the influence of alcohol;

(B) Is under the influence of any controlled substance;

(C) Is under the influence of any other drug;

(D) Is under the combined influence of alcohol and any controlled substance or any other drug; or

(E) Has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths of one percent or more, by weight; and

(2) While driving does any act forbidden by law or fails to perform any duty imposed by law in the driving of the vehicle, which act or failure proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than himself or herself, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for not less than one day nor more than one year, which jail term is to include actual confinement of not less than twenty-four hours, and shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $1,000.

(d) Any person who:

(1) Drives a vehicle in this state while he or she:

(A) Is under the influence of alcohol;

(B) Is under the influence of any controlled substance;

(C) Is under the influence of any other drug;

(D) Is under the combined influence of alcohol and any controlled substance or any other drug; or

(E) Has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths of one percent or more, by weight, but less than fifteen hundredths of one percent, by weight;

(2) Is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, except as provided in section two-b of this article, shall be confined in jail for up to six months and shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500. A person sentenced pursuant to this subdivision shall receive credit for any period of actual confinement he or she served upon arrest for the subject offense.

(e) Any person who drives a vehicle in this state while he or she has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of fifteen hundredths of one percent or more, by weight, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for not less than two days nor more than six months, which jail term is to include actual confinement of not less than twenty-four hours, and shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $1,000. A person sentenced pursuant to this subdivision shall receive credit for any period of actual confinement he or she served upon arrest for the subject offense.

(f) Any person who, being an habitual user of narcotic drugs or amphetamine or any derivative thereof, drives a vehicle in this state is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for not less than one day nor more than six months, which jail term is to include actual confinement of not less than twenty-four hours, and shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500. A person sentenced pursuant to this subdivision shall receive credit for any period of actual confinement he or she served upon arrest for the subject offense.

(g) Any person who:

(1) Knowingly permits his or her vehicle to be driven in this state by any other person who:

(A) Is under the influence of alcohol;

(B) Is under the influence of any controlled substance;

(C) Is under the influence of any other drug;

(D) Is under the combined influence of alcohol and any controlled substance or any other drug;

(E) Has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths of one percent or more, by weight;

(2) Is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for not more than six months and shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500.

(h) Any person who knowingly permits his or her vehicle to be driven in this state by any other person who is an habitual user of narcotic drugs or amphetamine or any derivative thereof is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for not more than six months and shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500.

(i) Any person under the age of twenty-one years who drives a vehicle in this state while he or she has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of two hundredths of one percent or more, by weight, but less than eight hundredths of one percent, by weight, for a first offense under this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $25 nor more than $100. For a second or subsequent offense under this subsection, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for twenty-four hours and shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500. A person who is charged with a first offense under the provisions of this subsection may move for a continuance of the proceedings, from time to time, to allow the person to participate in the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program as provided in section three-a, article five-a of this chapter. Upon successful completion of the program, the court shall dismiss the charge against the person and expunge the person's record as it relates to the alleged offense. In the event the person fails to successfully complete the program, the court shall proceed to an adjudication of the alleged offense. A motion for a continuance under this subsection may not be construed as an admission or be used as evidence.

A person arrested and charged with an offense under the provisions of this subsection or subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) or (h) of this section may not also be charged with an offense under this subsection arising out of the same transaction or occurrence.

(j) Any person who:

(1) Drives a vehicle in this state while he or she:

(A) Is under the influence of alcohol;

(B) Is under the influence of any controlled substance;

(C) Is under the influence of any other drug;

(D) Is under the combined influence of alcohol and any controlled substance or any other drug; or

(E) Has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths of one percent or more, by weight; and

(2) The person while driving has on or within the motor vehicle one or more other persons who are unemancipated minors who have not reached their sixteenth birthday is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for not less than two days nor more than twelve months, which jail term is to include actual confinement of not less than forty-eight hours and shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $1,000.

(k) A person violating any provision of subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) or (i) of this section, for the second offense under this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for not less than six months nor more than one year and the court may, in its discretion, impose a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $3,000.

(l) A person violating any provision of subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) or (i) of this section, for the third or any subsequent offense under this section, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than three years and the court may, in its discretion, impose a fine of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000.

(m) For purposes of subsections (k) and (l) of this section relating to second, third and subsequent offenses, the following events shall be regarded as offenses under this section:

(1) Any conviction under the provisions of subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) or (g) of this section or under a prior enactment of this section for an offense which occurred within the ten-year period immediately preceding the date of arrest in the current proceeding;

(2) Any conviction under a municipal ordinance of this state or any other state or a statute of the United States or of any other state of an offense which has the same elements as an offense described in subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) or (h) of this section, which offense occurred within the ten-year period immediately preceding the date of arrest in the current proceeding; and,

(3) Any period of conditional probation imposed pursuant section two-b of this article for violation of subsection (d) of this article, which violation occurred within the ten-year period immediately preceding the date of arrest in the current proceeding.

(n) A person may be charged in a warrant or indictment or

information for a second or subsequent offense under this section if the person has been previously arrested for or charged with a violation of this section which is alleged to have occurred within the applicable time period for prior offenses, notwithstanding the fact that there has not been a final adjudication of the charges for the alleged previous offense. In that case, the warrant or indictment or information must set forth the date, location and particulars of the previous offense or offenses. No person may be convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section unless the conviction for the previous offense has become final, or the person has previously had a period of conditional probation imposed pursuant to section two-b of this article.

(o) The fact that any person charged with a violation of subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) or (f) of this section, or any person permitted to drive as described under subsection (g) or (h) of this section, is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol, a controlled substance or a drug does not constitute a defense against any charge of violating subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) or (h) of this section.

(p) For purposes of this section, the term "controlled substance" has the meaning ascribed to it in chapter sixty-a of this code.

(q) The sentences provided in this section upon conviction for a violation of this article are mandatory and are not subject to suspension or probation: Provided, That the court may apply the provisions of article eleven-a, chapter sixty-two of this code to a person sentenced or committed to a term of one year or less for a first offense under this section: Provided further, That the court may impose a term of conditional probation pursuant to section two-b of this article to persons adjudicated thereunder. An order for home detention by the court pursuant to the provisions of article eleven-b of said chapter may be used as an alternative sentence to any period of incarceration required by this section for a first or subsequent offense: Provided, however, That for any period of home incarceration ordered for a person convicted of second offense under this section, electronic monitoring shall be required for no fewer than five days of the total period of home confinement ordered and the offender may not leave home for those five days notwithstanding the provisions of section five, article eleven-b, chapter sixty-two of this code: Provided further, That for any period of home incarceration ordered for a person convicted of a third or subsequent violation of this section, electronic monitoring shall be included for no fewer than ten days of the total period of home confinement ordered and the offender may not leave home for those ten days notwithstanding section five, article eleven-b, chapter sixty-two of this code.

WVC 17 C- 5 - 2 A §17C-5-2a. Definition of phrase "in this state"; phrases synonymous with driving under the influence of alcohol; validation of warrants and indictments.

(a) For purposes of this article and article five-a of this chapter, the phrase "in this state" shall mean anywhere within the physical boundaries of this state, including, but not limited to, publicly maintained streets and highways, and subdivision streets or other areas not publicly maintained but nonetheless open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

(b) When used in this code, the terms or phrases "driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor," "driving or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated," "for any person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor to drive any vehicle," or any similar term or phrase shall be construed to mean and be synonymous with the term or phrase "while under the influence of alcohol ... drives a vehicle" as the latter term or phrase is used in section two of this article.

(c) From and after the effective date of this section a warrant or indictment which charges or alleges an offense, prohibited by the provisions of section two of this article, and which warrant or indictment uses any of the terms or phrases set forth in subsection (b) of this section, shall not thereby be fatally defective if such warrant or indictment otherwise informs the person so accused of the charges against him.

WVC 17 C- 5 - 2 B §17C-5-2b. Deferral of further proceedings for certain first offenses upon condition of participation in motor vehicle alcohol test and lock program; procedure on charge of violation of conditions.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (g) of this section, whenever any person who has not previously been convicted of any offense under this article or under any statute of the United States or of any state relating to driving under the influence of alcohol, any controlled substance or any other drug:

(1) Notifies the court within thirty days of his or her arrest of his or her intention to participate in a deferral pursuant to this section; and

(2) Pleads guilty to or is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol under subsection (d), section two of this article, the court, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the accused, shall defer further proceedings and, notwithstanding any provisions of this code to the contrary, place him or her on probation, which conditions shall include, that he or she successfully completes the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program as provided in section three-a, article five-a of this chapter. Participation therein shall be for a period of at least one hundred and sixty-five days after he or she has served the fifteen days of license suspension imposed pursuant to section two, article five-a of this chapter.

(b) A defendant's election to participate in deferral under this section shall constitute a waiver of his or her right to an administrative hearing as provided in section two, article five-a of this chapter.

(c) (1) If the prosecuting attorney files a motion alleging that the defendant during the period of the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock program has been removed therefrom by the Division of Motor Vehicles, or has failed to successfully complete the program before making a motion for dismissal pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, the court may issue such process as is necessary to bring the defendant before the court.

(2) A motion alleging such violation filed pursuant to subdivision (1) must be filed during the period of the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program or, if filed thereafter, must be filed within a reasonable time after the alleged violation was committed.

(3) When the defendant is brought before the court, the court shall afford the defendant an opportunity to be heard. If the court finds that the defendant has been rightfully removed from the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program by the Division of Motor Vehicles, the court may order, when appropriate, that the deferral be terminated, and thereupon enter an adjudication of guilt and proceed as otherwise provided.

(4) Should the defendant fail to complete or be removed from the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program, the defendant waives the appropriate statute of limitations and the defendant's right to a speedy trial under any applicable Federal or State constitutional provisions, statutes or rules of court during the period of enrollment in the program.

(d) When the defendant shall have completed satisfactorily the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program and complied with its conditions, the defendant may move the court for an order dismissing the charges. This motion shall be supported by affidavit of the defendant and by certification of the Division of Motor Vehicles that the defendant has successfully completed the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program. A copy of the motion shall be served on the prosecuting attorney who shall within thirty days after service advise the judge of any objections to the motion, serving a copy of such objections on the defendant or the defendant's attorney. If there are no objections filed within the thirty-day period, the court shall thereafter dismiss the charges against the defendant. If there are objections filed with regard to the dismissal of charges, the court shall proceed as set forth in subsection (c) of this section.

(e) Except as provided herein, unless a defendant adjudicated pursuant to this subsection be convicted of a subsequent violation of this article, discharge and dismissal under this section shall be without adjudication of guilt and is not a conviction for purposes of disqualifications or disabilities imposed by law upon conviction of a crime except for those provided in article five-a of this chapter. Except as provided in subsection (k), (l) and (m), section two of this article regarding subsequent offenses, the effect of the dismissal and discharge shall be to restore the person in contemplation of law to the status he or she occupied prior to arrest and trial. No person as to whom a dismissal and discharge have been effected shall be thereafter held to be guilty of perjury, false swearing, or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his or her failure to disclose or acknowledge his or her arrest or trial in response to any inquiry made of him or her for any purpose other than any inquiry made in connection with any subsequent offense as that term is defined in subsection (m), section two of this article.

(f) There may be only one discharge and dismissal under this section with respect to any person.

(g) No person shall be eligible for dismissal and discharge under this section: (1) in any prosecution in which any violation of any other provision of this article has been charged;(2)if the person holds a commercial driver's license or operates commercial motor vehicle(s), or (3)the person has previously had his or her driver's license revoked under section two-a of this article or under any statute of the United States or of any state relating to driving under the influence alcohol, any controlled substance or any other drug.

(h) (1) After a period of not less than one year which shall begin to run immediately upon the expiration of a term of probation imposed upon any person under this section, the person may apply to the court for an order to expunge from all official records all recordations of his or her arrest, trial, and conviction, pursuant to this section except for those maintained by the Division of Motor Vehicles: Provided, That any person who has previously been convicted of a felony may not make a motion for expungement pursuant to this section.

(2) If the prosecuting attorney objects to the expungement, the objections shall be filed with the court within thirty days after service of a motion for expungement and copies of the objections shall be served on the defendant or the defendant's attorney.

(3) If the objections are filed, the court shall hold a hearing on the objections, affording all parties an opportunity to be heard. If the court determines after a hearing that the person during the period of his or her probation and during the period of time prior to his or her application to the court under this subsection has not been guilty of any serious or repeated violation of the conditions of his or her probation, it shall order the expungement.

(i) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, any person prosecuted for a violation of subsection(d), section two, article five of this chapter whose case is disposed of pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be liable for any court costs assessable against a person convicted of a violation of subsection (j), section two, article five of this chapter. Payment of such costs may be made a condition of probation. The costs assessed pursuant to this subsection, whether as a term of probation or not, shall be distributed as other court costs in accordance with section two, article three, chapter fifty, section four, article two-a, chapter fourteen, section four, article twenty-nine, chapter thirty and sections two, seven and ten, article five, chapter sixty-two of this code.

WVC 17 C- 5 - 3 §17C-5-3. Reckless driving; penalties.
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle upon any street or highway, or upon any residential street, or in any parking area, or upon the ways of any institution of higher education, whether public or private, or upon the ways of any state institution, or upon the property of any county boards of education, or upon any property within the state park and public recreation system established by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources pursuant to section three, article four, chapter twenty of this code in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to those areas which have been temporarily closed for racing sport events or which may be set aside by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources within the state park and recreation system for exclusive use by motorcycles or other recreational vehicles.

(c) Every person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon a first conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for a period of not less than five days nor more than ninety days, or fined not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or both, and upon conviction of a second or subsequent conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail not less than ten days nor more than six months, or fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or both.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section who in doing so proximately causes another to suffer serious bodily injury shall, upon conviction, be confined in jail not less than ten days nor more than six months or fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or both.

(e) For purposes of subsection (d) of this section, "serious bodily injury" means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, which causes serious or prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

WVC 17 C- 5 - 4 §17C-5-4. Implied consent to test; administration at direction of law-enforcement officer; designation of type of test; definition of law-enforcement officer.

          (a) Any person who drives a motor vehicle in this state is considered to have given his or her consent by the operation of the motor vehicle to a preliminary breath analysis and a secondary chemical test of either his or her blood or breath to determine the alcohol concentration in his or her blood, or the concentration in the person's body of a controlled substance, drug, or any combination thereof.

          (b) A preliminary breath analysis may be administered in accordance with the provisions of section five of this article whenever a law-enforcement officer has reasonable cause to believe a person has committed an offense prohibited by section two of this article or by an ordinance of a municipality of this state which has the same elements as an offense described in section two of this article.

          (c) A secondary test of blood or breath is incidental to a lawful arrest and is to be administered at the direction of the arresting law-enforcement officer having probable cause to believe the person has committed an offense prohibited by section two of this article or by an ordinance of a municipality of this state which has the same elements as an offense described in section two of this article.

          (d) The law-enforcement agency that employs the arresting law-enforcement officer shall designate the secondary tests to be administered: Notwithstanding the provisions of section seven of this article, the refusal to submit to a blood test only may not result in the revocation of the arrested person's license to operate a motor vehicle in this state.

          (e) Any person to whom a preliminary breath test is administered who is arrested shall be given a written statement advising him or her that his or her refusal to submit to the secondary chemical test pursuant to subsection (d) of this section will result in the revocation of his or her license to operate a motor vehicle in this state for a period of at least forty-five days and up to life.

          (f) Any law-enforcement officer who has been properly trained in the administration of any secondary chemical test authorized by this article, including, but not limited to, certification by the Bureau for Public Health in the operation of any equipment required for the collection and analysis of a breath sample, may conduct the test at any location in the county wherein the arrest is made: Provided, That the law-enforcement officer may conduct the test at the nearest available properly functioning secondary chemical testing device located outside the county in which the arrest was made, if: (I) There is no properly functioning secondary chemical testing device located within the county the arrest was made; or (ii) there is no magistrate available within the county the arrest was made for the arraignment of the person arrested. A law-enforcement officer who is directing that a secondary chemical test be conducted has the authority to transport the person arrested to where the secondary chemical testing device is located.

          (g) If the arresting officer lacks proper training in the administration of a secondary chemical test, then any other law-enforcement officer who has received training in the administration of the secondary chemical test to be administered may, upon the request of the arresting law-enforcement officer and in his or her presence, conduct the secondary test. The results of a test conducted pursuant to this subsection may be used in evidence to the same extent and in the same manner as if the test had been conducted by the arresting law-enforcement officer.

          (h) Only the person actually administering or conducting a test conducted pursuant to this article is competent to testify as to the results and the veracity of the test.

          (I) (1) For the purpose of this article, the term "law-enforcement officer" or "police officer" means: (1) Any member of the West Virginia State Police; (2) any sheriff and any deputy sheriff of any county; (3) any member of a police department in any municipality as defined in section two, article one, chapter eight of this code; (4) any natural resources police officer of the Division of Natural Resources; and (5) any special police officer appointed by the Governor pursuant to the provisions of section forty-one, article three, chapter sixty-one of this code who has completed the course of instruction at a law-enforcement training academy as provided for under the provisions of section nine, article twenty-nine, chapter thirty of this code.

          (2) In addition to standards promulgated by the Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction, pursuant to section three, article twenty-nine, chapter thirty of this code, governing the qualification of law-enforcement officers and the entry-level law-enforcement training curricula, the Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction shall require the satisfactory completion of a minimum of not less than six hours of training in the recognition of impairment in drivers who are under the influence of controlled substances or drugs other than alcohol.

          (3) In addition to standards promulgated by the Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction, pursuant to section three, article twenty-nine, chapter thirty of this code, establishing standards governing in-service law-enforcement officer training curricula and in-service supervisory level training curricula, the Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction shall require the satisfactory completion of a minimum of not less than six hours of training in the recognition of impairment in drivers who are under the influence of controlled substances or drugs other than alcohol.

          (4) That after December 31, 2014, a law-enforcement officer who has not satisfactorily completed the minimum number of hours of training in the recognition of impairment in drivers who are under the influence of controlled substances or drugs other than alcohol, required by subdivisions (2) or (3), may no longer require any person to submit to secondary chemical test of his or her blood for the purposes of determining the concentration in the person's body of a controlled substance, drug, or any combination thereof.

          (j) A law-enforcement officer who has reasonable cause to believe that person has committed an offense prohibited by section eighteen, article seven, chapter twenty of this code, relating to the operation of a motorboat, jet ski or other motorized vessel, shall follow the provisions of this section in administering, or causing to be administered, a preliminary breath analysis and incidental to a lawful arrest, a secondary chemical test of the accused person's blood or breath to determine the alcohol concentration in his or her blood, or the concentration in the person's body of a controlled substance, drug, or any combination thereof. WVC 17 C- 5 - 5 §17C-5-5. Preliminary analysis of breath to determine alcoholic content of blood.
When a law-enforcement officer has reason to believe a person has committed an offense prohibited by section two of this article or by an ordinance of a municipality of this state which has the same elements as an offense described in said section two of this article, the law-enforcement officer may require such person to submit to a preliminary breath analysis for the purpose of determining such person's blood alcohol content. Such breath analysis must be administered as soon as possible after the law-enforcement officer has a reasonable belief that the person has been driving while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs. Any preliminary breath analysis required under this section must be administered with a device and in a manner approved by the department of health for that purpose. The results of a preliminary breath analysis shall be used solely for the purpose of guiding the officer in deciding whether an arrest should be made. When a driver is arrested following a preliminary breath analysis, the tests as hereinafter provided in this article shall be administered in accordance with the provisions thereof.

WVC 17 C- 5 - 6 §17C-5-6. How blood test administered; additional test at option of person tested; use of test results; certain immunity from liability incident to administering test.

     Only a doctor of medicine or osteopathy, or registered nurse, or trained medical technician at the place of his or her employment, acting at the request and direction of the law-enforcement officer, may withdraw blood to determine the alcohol concentration in the blood, or the concentration in the blood of a controlled substance, drug, or any combination thereof. These limitations shall not apply to the taking of a breath test. In withdrawing blood to determine the alcohol concentration in the blood, or the presence in the blood of a controlled substance, drug, or any combination thereof, only a previously unused and sterile needle and sterile vessel may be utilized and the withdrawal shall otherwise be in strict accord with accepted medical practices. A nonalcoholic antiseptic shall be used for cleansing the skin prior to venapuncture. The person tested may, at his or her own expense, have a doctor of medicine or osteopathy, or registered nurse, or trained medical technician at the place of his or her employment, of his or her own choosing, administer a chemical test in addition to the test administered at the direction of the law-enforcement officer. Upon the request of the person who is tested, full information concerning the test taken at the direction of the law-enforcement officer shall be made available to him or her. No person who administers any such test upon the request of a law-enforcement officer as herein defined, no hospital in or with which such person is employed or is otherwise associated or in which such test is administered, and no other person, firm or corporation by whom or with which such person is employed or is in any way associated, shall be in any way criminally liable for the administration of such test, or civilly liable in damages to the person tested unless for gross negligence or willful or wanton injury. WVC 17 C- 5 - 6 A §17C-5-6a. Taking a child into custody; driving a motor vehicle with any amount of blood alcohol.
(a) A preliminary breath analysis may be administered to a child whenever a law-enforcement official has reasonable cause to believe the child to have been driving a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in his or her blood for the purpose of determining the child's blood alcohol content. Such breath analysis must be administered as soon as possible after the law-enforcement officer arrives at a reasonable belief that the child has been driving a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in his or her blood. Any preliminary breath analysis administered pursuant to this subsection must be administered with a device and in a manner approved by the division of health for that purpose. If a preliminary breath analysis is administered, the results shall be used solely for the purpose of guiding the officer in deciding whether the child, at the time of driving the motor vehicle, had an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of two hundredths of one percent or more, by weight, and should, therefore, be taken into custody to administer a secondary test in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(b) A child may be taken into custody by a law-enforcement official without a warrant or court order if the official has reasonable grounds to believe the child to have been driving a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in his or her blood. If a preliminary breath analysis is administered and the results of the analysis indicate that the child has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of less than two hundredths of one percent, by weight, the child may not be taken into custody unless other grounds exist under subsection (b), section eight, article five, chapter forty-nine of this code. Upon taking a child into custody pursuant to the provisions of this section, the official shall take all reasonable steps to cause notification to be made to the child's parent or custodian or, if the parent or custodian cannot be located, to a close relative.

(c) Upon taking a child into custody pursuant to this section, the official shall take the child to a facility where a secondary test of the child's blood or urine may be administered at the direction of the official or a test of the child's breath may be administered by the official. The law-enforcement agency by which such law-enforcement official is employed shall designate whether the secondary test is a test of either blood, breath or urine: Provided, That if the test so designated is a blood test and the child refuses to submit to the blood test, then the law-enforcement official taking the child into custody shall designate in lieu thereof a breath test to be administered. Notwithstanding the provisions of section seven of this article, a refusal to submit to a blood test only shall not result in the revocation of the child's license to operate a motor vehicle in this state. Any child taken into custody pursuant to this section shall be given a written statement advising him or her that a refusal to submit to a secondary test of either blood, breath or urine, as finally designated by the law-enforcement agency or official in accordance with this subsection, will result in the suspension of his or her license to operate a motor vehicle in this state for a period of at least thirty days or a revocation of the license for a period up to life.

(d) If the law-enforcement official taking the child into custody is employed by a law-enforcement agency which does not have available the testing equipment or facilities necessary to conduct any secondary breath test which may be administered pursuant to the provisions of this section, then the official who took the child into custody may request another qualified person to administer a secondary breath test: Provided, That the breath test shall be administered in the presence of the official who took the child into custody. The results of such breath test may be used in evidence to the same extent and in the same manner as if such test had been conducted by the law-enforcement official who took the child into custody. The qualified person administering the breath test must be a member of the West Virginia state police, the sheriff of the county wherein the child was taken into custody or any deputy of such sheriff or a law-enforcement official of another municipality within the county wherein the child was taken into custody. Only the person actually administering the secondary breath test is competent to testify as to the results and the veracity of the test. If the secondary test is a blood test, the test shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of section six of this article.

(e) After taking the child into custody, if the law-enforcement official has reasonable cause to believe that the act of the child in driving the motor vehicle is such that it would provide grounds for arrest for an offense defined under the provisions of section two of this article if the child were an adult, then the official shall proceed to treat the child in the same manner as any other child taken into custody without a warrant or court order, in accordance with the provisions of section eight of this article.

(f) If the results of any secondary test administered pursuant to this section indicate that the child, at the time of driving the motor vehicle, had an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths of one percent or less, by weight, and if the law-enforcement official does not have reasonable cause to believe that the act of the child in driving the motor vehicle is such that it would provide grounds for arrest for an offense defined under the provisions of section two of this article if the child were an adult, then the official shall release the child: Provided, That if the results of any secondary test administered pursuant to this section indicate that the child, at the time of driving the motor vehicle, had an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of two hundredths of one percent or more, by weight, the child shall only be released to a parent or custodian, or to some other responsible adult.

WVC 17 C- 5 - 7 §17C-5-7. Refusal to submit to tests; revocation of license or privilege; consent not withdrawn if person arrested is incapable of refusal; hearing.

     (a) If any person under arrest as specified in section four of this article refuses to submit to any secondary chemical test, the tests shall not be given: Provided, That prior to the refusal, the person is given an oral warning and a written statement advising him or her that his or her refusal to submit to the secondary test finally designated will result in the revocation of his or her license to operate a motor vehicle in this state for a period of at least forty-five days and up to life; and that after fifteen minutes following the warnings the refusal is considered final. The arresting officer after that period of time expires has no further duty to provide the person with an opportunity to take the secondary test. The officer shall, within forty-eight hours of the refusal, sign and submit to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles a written statement of the officer that: (1) He or she had probable cause to believe the person had been driving a motor vehicle in this state while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs; (2) the person was lawfully placed under arrest for an offense relating to driving a motor vehicle in this state while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs; (3) the person refused to submit to the secondary chemical test finally designated in the manner provided in section four of this article; and (4) the person was given a written statement advising him or her that his or her license to operate a motor vehicle in this state would be revoked for a period of at least forty-five days and up to life if he or she refused to submit to the secondary test finally designated in the manner provided in section four of this article. The signing of the statement required to be signed by this section constitutes an oath or affirmation by the person signing the statement that the statements contained in the statement are true and that any copy filed is a true copy. The statement shall contain upon its face a warning to the officer signing that to willfully sign a statement containing false information concerning any matter or thing, material or not material, is false swearing and is a misdemeanor. Upon receiving the statement the commissioner shall make and enter an order revoking the person's license to operate a motor vehicle in this state for the period prescribed by this section.

     For the first refusal to submit to the designated secondary chemical test, the commissioner shall make and enter an order revoking the person's license to operate a motor vehicle in this state for a period of one year or forty-five days, with an additional one year of participation in the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program in accordance with the provisions of section three-a, article five-a of this chapter: Provided, That a person revoked for driving while under the influence of drugs is not eligible to participate in the Motor Vehicle Test and Lock Program. The application for participation in the Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program shall be considered to be a waiver of the hearing provided in section two of said article. If the person's license has previously been revoked under the provisions of this section, the commissioner shall, for the refusal to submit to the designated secondary chemical test, make and enter an order revoking the person's license to operate a motor vehicle in this state for a period of ten years: Provided, however, That the license may be reissued in five years in accordance with the provisions of section three, article five-a of this chapter. If the person's license has previously been revoked more than once under the provisions of this section, the commissioner shall, for the refusal to submit to the designated secondary chemical test, make and enter an order revoking the person's license to operate a motor vehicle in this state for a period of life. A copy of each order shall be forwarded to the person by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall contain the reasons for the revocation and shall specify the revocation period imposed pursuant to this section. A revocation shall not become effective until ten days after receipt of the copy of the order. Any person who is unconscious or who is otherwise in a condition rendering him or her incapable of refusal shall be considered not to have withdrawn his or her consent for a test of his or her blood or breath as provided in section four of this article and the test may be administered although the person is not informed that his or her failure to submit to the test will result in the revocation of his or her license to operate a motor vehicle in this state for the period provided for in this section. A revocation under this section shall run concurrently with the period of any suspension or revocation imposed in accordance with other provisions of this code and growing out of the same incident which gave rise to the arrest for driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs and the subsequent refusal to undergo the test finally designated in accordance with the provisions of section four of this article.

     (b) For the purposes of this section, where reference is made to previous suspensions or revocations under this section, the following types of suspensions or revocations shall also be regarded as suspensions or revocations under this section:

     (1) Any suspension or revocation on the basis of a conviction under a municipal ordinance of another state or a statute of the United States or of any other state of an offense which has the same elements as an offense described in section two of this article for conduct which occurred on or after June 10, 1983; and

     (2) Any revocation under the provisions of section one or two, article five-a of this chapter for conduct which occurred on or after June 10, 1983.

     (c) A person whose license to operate a motor vehicle in this state has been revoked shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard, in accordance with the provisions of section two, article five-a of this chapter.

     (d) The refusal to submit to a blood test may be admissible at the court's discretion in a trial for the offense of driving a motor vehicle in this state while under the influence of alcohol a controlled substance or drug or the combination of alcohol and drugs. WVC 17 C- 5 - 8 §17C-5-8. Interpretation and use of chemical test.

     (a) Upon trial for the offense of driving a motor vehicle in this state while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs, or upon the trial of any civil or criminal action arising out of acts alleged to have been committed by any person driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs, evidence of the amount of alcohol in the person's blood at the time of the arrest or of the acts alleged, as shown by a chemical analysis of his or her blood or breath, is admissible, if the sample or specimen was taken within the time period provided in subsection (g).

     (b) The evidence of the concentration of alcohol in the person's blood at the time of the arrest or the acts alleged gives rise to the following presumptions or has the following effect:

     (1) Evidence that there was, at that time, five hundredths of one percent or less, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood, is prima facie evidence that the person was not under the influence of alcohol;

     (2) Evidence that there was, at that time, more than five hundredths of one percent and less than eight hundredths of one percent, by weight, of alcohol in the person's blood is relevant evidence, but it is not to be given prima facie effect in indicating whether the person was under the influence of alcohol;

     (3) Evidence that there was, at that time, eight hundredths of one percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood, shall be admitted as prima facie evidence that the person was under the influence of alcohol.

     (c) A determination of the percent, by weight, of alcohol in the blood shall be based upon a formula of:

     (1) The number of grams of alcohol per one hundred cubic centimeters of blood;

     (2) The number of grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath; or

     (3) The number of grams of alcohol per eighty-six milliliters of serum.

     (d) A chemical analysis of blood for the purpose of determining the controlled substance or drug concentration of a person's blood, must include, but is not limited to, the following drugs or classes of drugs:

     (1) Marijuana metabolites;

     (2) Cocaine metabolites;

     (3) Amphetamines;

     (4) Opiate metabolites;

     (5) Phencyclidine (PCP);

     (6) Benzodiazepines;

     (7) Propoxyphene;

     (8) Methadone;

     (9) Barbiturates; and

     (10) Synthetic narcotics.

     (e) (1) A chemical analysis of a person's blood or breath, in order to give rise to the presumptions or to have the effect provided for in this section, must be performed in accordance with methods and standards approved by the state Bureau for Public Health.

     (A) The Bureau for Public Health shall prescribe, by legislative rules promulgated pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, methods and standards for the chemical analysis of a person's blood or breath.

     (B) Legislative rules proposed by the Bureau for Public Health must specify the test or tests that are approved for reliability of result and ease of administration using scientific methods and instrumentation generally accepted in the forensic community, and must provide an approved method of administration which must be followed in all such tests given under this section.

     (C) The bureau shall review prescribed standards and methods at least every two years to ensure that the methods and standards are approved for reliability of result and ease of administration using scientific methods and instrumentation generally accepted in the forensic community.

     (2) A chemical analysis of blood to determine the alcohol content or the controlled substance or drug content of blood shall be conducted by a qualified laboratory or by the State Police scientific laboratory of the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory.

     (f) The provisions of this article do not limit the introduction in any administrative or judicial proceeding of any other competent evidence bearing on the question of whether the person was under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs.

     (g) For the purposes of the admissibility of a chemical test under subsection (a):

     (1) A sample or specimen taken to determine the alcohol concentration of a person's blood, must be taken within two hours from the time of the person's arrest; or

     (2) For a sample or specimen to determine the controlled substance or drug content of a person's blood, must be taken within four hours of the person's arrest.

     (h) The results of any test administered pursuant to this section for the purpose of detecting the concentration of any controlled substance shall not be admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution for the possession of a controlled substance. WVC 17 C- 5 - 9 §17C-5-9. Right to demand test.

               Any person lawfully arrested for driving a motor vehicle in this state while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs shall have the right to demand that a sample or specimen of his or her blood or breath to determine the alcohol concentration of his or her blood be taken within two hours from and after the time of arrest and a sample or specimen of his or her blood or breath to determine the controlled substance or drug content of his or her blood, be taken within four hours from and after the time of arrest, and that a chemical test thereof be made. The analysis disclosed by such chemical test shall be made available to such arrested person forthwith upon demand. WVC 17C-5-10 §17C-5-10. Fee for withdrawing blood sample and making urine test; payment of fees.
A reasonable fee shall be allowed to the person withdrawing a blood sample or administering a urine test at the request and direction of a law-enforcement officer in accordance with the provisions of this article. If the person whose blood sample was withdrawn or whose urine was tested was arrested and charged with a violation of section two of this article, the county having venue of such charge shall pay said fee, and if said person is subsequently convicted of such charge, such fee shall be taxed as a part of the costs of the criminal proceeding and shall be paid, notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, into the general fund of said county. If the person whose blood sample was withdrawn or whose urine was tested was arrested and charged with a violation of a similar ordinance of any municipality, said municipality shall pay said fee, and if said person is subsequently convicted of such charge, such fee shall be taxed as a part of the costs of the criminal proceeding and shall be paid, notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, into the general fund of said municipality.

WVC 17C-5-11 §17C-5-11. Municipal ordinances to contain same elements as offenses under this article; penalties in municipal ordinances required to conform to state penalties.
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section five, article twelve, chapter eight of this code, on and after the first day of September, one thousand nine hundred eighty-three, each and every municipal ordinance defining a misdemeanor offense of or relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or otherwise prohibiting conduct made unlawful by this article shall be null and void and of no effect unless such ordinance defines such an offense in substantially similar terms as an offense defined under the provisions of this article and such offense contains the same elements as an offense defined herein.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of section one, article eleven, chapter eight of this code, on and after the first day of August, one thousand nine hundred eighty-three, each and every municipal ordinance defining a misdemeanor offense of or relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or otherwise prohibiting conduct made unlawful by this article shall prescribe the same penalty for such offense as is prescribed for an offense under this article containing the same elements.

WVC 17 C- 5 - 12 §17C-5-12. Report to the Legislature.

     On or before December 31, 2013, the Bureau for Public Health shall submit to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance a report that includes the following:

     (1) Recommendations for the minimum levels of those drugs or controlled substances contained in subsection (d), section eight of this article, that must be present in a person's blood in order for the test to be admitted as prima facie evidence that the person was under the influence of a controlled substance or drug in a prosecution for the offense of driving a motor vehicle in this state; and

     (2) Recommendations for the minimum levels of those drugs or controlled substances contained in subsection (d), section eight of this article, that laboratories approved to test blood for drug or controlled substance content can reliably identify and measure for the concentrations of drugs, controlled substances and their metabolites, in blood.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.


Recent legislation affecting the Code

Citation Year/Session Short Title
§17 C- 6 - 11 - (New Code)
§17 C- 15 - 26 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 378
PASSED - Regular Session

SB378 SUB2 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/25/2014)
Relating to special speed limitations as to waste service vehicles
§17 C- 5 A- 3 A - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 434
PASSED - Regular Session

SB434 SUB1 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/25/2014)
Eliminating revocation period for certain DUI offenders
§17 C- 15 - 23 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 2477
PASSED - Regular Session

HB2477 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/18/2014)
Permitting certain auxiliary lighting on motorcycles
§17 C- 7 - 3 - (Amended Code)
§17 C- 11 - 5 - (Amended Code)
§17 C- 11 - 7 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4304
PASSED - Regular Session

HB4304 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/25/2014)
Providing rules for motor vehicles passing bicycles on roadways
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.
This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2014 West Virginia Legislature **