West Virginia prohibits driving without a valid license. In other words, it’s against the law to drive on a suspended or revoked license or if you never obtained a license. This article defines these violations, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the license requirement.
Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a West Virginia highway must carry a valid license while driving.
Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving is a misdemeanor, carrying a fine of up to $500. A second or subsequent offense will result in a maximum $500 fine and/or up to six months in jail.
License not in possession. A licensed driver who cannot—or will not—display a license to a requesting officer can be convicted of a misdemeanor and faces a maximum $500 fine. However, the driver can’t be convicted if he or she presents a then-valid license to the court or at the police station before the court date.
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver’s licenses from their home state or country can drive in West Virginia without an in-state license (including out-of-state college students), subject to West Virginia age restrictions. Military personnel operating military vehicles are also exempt from the licensing requirements.
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license is subject to fines, jail, and extended license sanctions.
Driving while suspended. Driving while suspended or revoked is a misdemeanor, punishable by a $100 to $500 fine. A third or subsequent offense carries a $250 to $500 fine and 30 to 90 days in jail.
Revoked for DUI. A violator whose license was suspended or revoked for a DUI (driving under the influence) will be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a $100 to $500 fine and 30 to 90 days in jail. A second offense carries a $1,000 to $3,000 fine and six months to one year in jail. A third offense is a felony and results in a $3,000 to $5,000 fine and one to three years in prison. Convicted motorists also face additional license suspension time.
Minor DUI. West Virginia has an underage DUI that prohibits drivers who are under 21 years from operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or more. An underage DUI leads to license suspension. A person who violates this suspension will be guilty of a misdemeanor, which results in 24 hours in jail and a $50 to $500 fine. A second offense carries 30 days to six months in jail and a $100 to $500 fine. Anyone convicted of a third or subsequent offense faces a felony conviction, one to three years in prison, and a $1,000 to $5,000 fine. Driving while on an underage DUI suspension will also result in a six-month driver’s license suspension.