While those of us in Weirton and other parts of the Northern Panhandle believe we’re in the best section of West Virginia , there are state residents elsewhere who sometimes lay claim to the honor. People in the Eastern Panhandle might well argue that they’re in the most envied part of the state because of the Charles Town detachment of the State Police, for instance.
The troopers were recently recognized for making the most DUI arrests in West Virginia in 2014. Troopers said that they actively seek drunken drivers, but they also attribute part of their success to location. The large population, generous allotment of bars, easy accessibility to the area for out-of-state visitors and late drinking hours combine to push DUI totals higher.
One trooper said he estimated that 60 percent of drunk drivers were from outside West Virginia, there to enjoy the sights, sounds and 3 a.m. closing times at “gentlemen’s clubs” and other watering holes. The troopers out of Charles Town combined to rack up 166 DUI arrests last year.
Just three officers made 107 of the arrests, with Corporal M.J. Glende leading the way with 53.
The troops said they have no special abilities to spot drunken drivers; they’re simply observant of the way people drive. Once pulled over, “we observe their eyes, and we can usually smell alcohol emitted from their breath,” a trooper told a TV station.
Then it’s a matter of putting drivers through field sobriety tests, and if drivers fail those, the result of the traffic stop is a DUI arrest. And of course, that’s basically where the officer’s involvement ends and the involvement of prosecutors and courts begins.
For many drivers eager to avoid the worst punishments, it makes sense to get legal representation; an attorney experienced in DUI defense. The potential punishments include significant jail time and large fines. Discuss your options with an attorney who knows the court system, the law and how to defend against drunk driving allegations.