Two weeks ago, West Virginia toughened up our DUI laws. Mind you, we're not a state that had been lenient on drunken drivers. Not at all.
In fact, we were recently ranked number four in the nation for toughest driving under the influence laws, trailing only Connecticut, Alaska and the very toughest, Arizona. The 2015 study by WalletHub might look different a year from now after the measure that took effect to increase penalties in the very worst drunk driving cases.
As you no doubt recall, lawmakers increased penalties for those who cause death while driving while impaired. All such incidents will from now on be prosecuted as felonies, The State Journal reports.
House Bill 2664 bumped up the penalties in these tragic cases from a range of 2 to 10 years in prison to a range of 3 to 15 years of incarceration. The law also adds a felony-level offense for impairment-related accidents that cause serious bodily injuries.
In addition, the statute increases the punishment for a third DUI and beyond.
The legislator who introduced the bill said the harsher penalties are intended to serve as a disincentive to repeat offenders, and to simply remove them from our roads.
A supportive lawmaker said, "If this law helps prevent just one more young West Virginian from having their life cut tragically short in a drunk driving accident, then the work we did on this was more than worth it."
In closing, we would simply like to wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July. Please use a designated driver if you plan on celebrating our nation's birthday with alcohol. If you make a mistake and drive after drinking, The Law Office of P. Zachary Stewart can help protect your rights and freedom. Please see our page titled Weirton DUI Defense Attorney Serving The Ohio Valley And Western Pennsylvania for more information.