Brooke County Sheriff's Department
From: Sheriff Charles W. Jackson
DUI's are a serious offense. Please read this and tell your friends and loved ones. Don't Drink and Drive.
Typical DUI Procedures
Following an arrest, the person will be processed, including and Intoximeter Test, fingerprinting, and other related paperwork. The person will either be issued a citation for the offense, or be taken to jail to await arraignment in front of a Magistrate. The decision as to whether a person is cited or taken to jail is made by the arresting officer based upon the behavior of the person arrested and the crime or crimes charged.
Following the arrest, the arresting officer will file a criminal complaint with the Magistrate Court. This is the formal charging document and contains a description of the crimes and their formal charging language. This document begins the Magistrate Court procedures.
The officer will also file a "Statement of Arresting Officer" form with the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles. This document contains details of the arrest. This document begins the administrative procedures for the suspension of the arrestee's driver's license. The DMV will send a letter to the arrestee indicating that they are going to have their license suspended for the DUI arrest. The letter gives the arrestee 20 days to respond and request an administrative hearing on the matter or accept the suspension as it stands. The letter spells out the length of suspension and a starting date for the suspension.
The Magistrate Court process and the DMV process are entirely separate matters with the exception that a "guilty" plea in Magistrate Court will cause an automatic suspension, even if an administrative hearing has been held or requested, as long as no administrative decision has been formally adopted by DMV.
The arrestee, if issued a citation will need to appear in front of a Magistrate within 5 days of the issuance of the citation or an arrest warrant will be issued. The magistrate will then conduct an arraignment - the formal notification of the charges by the court, the formal notification of the arrestee's rights, application for court appointed counsel, and issuance of bail. Bail is the formal surety that a person will return to the court for their bail. It can be in the form of personal recognizance - A simple promise document - or more complex with many restrictions or a requirement to put up a bond with money or bondsman or property.
Following the arraignment, if bail is posted, the person is released until they are notified by mail of their court date. This normally takes several weeks. In the case of a person whom does not "make bail" the person is remanded to the Regional Jail to await a court date. This may also take several weeks. The person sits in jail until that time or until they post bail.
During this delay, most people either hire an attorney themselves or get notification that the court has appointed the public defender to represent them in court. The "defendant" will also usually meet with their attorney during this time to discuss the case in detail.
During this delay, the "defendant" will also usually receive their letter from DMV. It normally takes several weeks to receive this letter. Their attorney will almost certainly respond and request a hearing.
When the date for court arrives, the defendant will come to the court and have their day in court. This case may go to trail - as we have all seen on TV - the case may be continued until another date. - to allow one side or the other more time for review - or the case may be plea bargained. The plea bargain is the most common by far. During this process the Prosecutor or Defendant (usually through his defense counsel) will make an offer to settle the case without a trail. Normally, both sides will give and take in the negotiations. Normally, a defendant would plead guilty or no contest to one or more of the charges in exchange for a near minimum sentence. A typical sentence to a "guilty" plea of DUI, a sentence of 6 days in jail, with 5 of those days converted to community service instead of actual jail time. The final day would actually be served in jail at the regional jail. In addition, the court imposes costs and fines as prescribed by the plea bargain. Community Service is arranged through the Community Service officer at his discretion.
This plea bargain results in a criminal conviction. This conviction is permanent and will NEVER leave a person's arrest record. The only exception is through a process of expungement - which is not likely in a DUI case due to the enhanced penalties for 2nd and 3rd offense.
If a guilty plea was entered as part of the plea bargain, the defendant will most likely have their driver's license suspended, unless the administrative hearing has already been held and the examiner has already ruled in favor of the defendant.
For a first offense DUI, the license suspension is six months, or until the defendant has completed a safety and treatment program and paid all of the costs, and fees associated with the conviction. If the defendant pays all of the fees quickly and attends a safety and treatment course immediately, they may be able to be reinstated in 3 months instead of waiting the full 6 months.
Another avenue available to the defendant is to enter the Lock and Ride program. In the program, the defendant has their license suspended for a small period (one month), then as a device installed in their car. The device is used to check the alcoholic content of the driver's blood before the car is started, and periodically when operating. The device remains in the car for a period of time determined by the program. The defendant can only operate that vehicle during the program.
The conviction will trigger enhanced penalties for later offenses of DUI for the TEN YEARS.
Brooke County Sheriff's Department
Sheriff Charles W. Jackson
Created by: T Jarrell