West Virginia Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Spirits are sold in retail liquor stores in West Virginia, but these beverages are limited those less than 95% alcohol. Beer and wine are typically available in the grocery or a convenience store, but beer is limited to 6% alcohol. It is illegal to sell alcohol on Sundays by state law, but local ordinances mandate the hours that restaurants, bars, and liquor stores may sell alcohol.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
In West Virginia, an individual must be 21 to imbibe alcohol, work as a bartender, or sell/handle beer, wine, or spirits in a liquor store. A supervisor must be present. However, with a supervisor present, a person can work in a restaurant that serves alcohol at age 18.
Open Container Laws
Unlike most states, in West Virginia open container laws only restrict the passengers and driver from drinking; open containers and previously opened bottles may be carried in the passenger area of the vehicle.
Drivers are considered to be driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or above. At this point the law considers them ‘per se intoxicated,’ which means prosecutors need no further evidence to charge the driver with DUI.
West Virginia laws do not support harsher punishment for drivers with excessively high BAC.
A driver under the age of 21 with a .02 percent or higher blood-alcohol content (BAC) will be charged with DUI penalties under ‘zero tolerance laws.’
Laws requiring drivers suspected of driving under the influence to cooperate with a law enforcement officer’s request for breath, blood, or urine testing for intoxication under ‘implied consent laws.’ Refusal carries penalties that can include mandatory suspension of a driver’s license for up to one year.
A driver’s license can be suspended by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for six months for the first DUI conviction and one year for the second or third offenses.
Vehicle confiscation for DUI is not a penalty option for the courts in West Virginia.
Installation of an ignition interlock device to a convicted DUI offender’s vehicle requires the driver to perform a breath-test before the vehicle will start. This is a penalty option available to the courts.
In limited circumstances, alcohol education, treatment, or assessment for alcohol abuse can be required in West Virginia.
DUI is considered a felony after the third conviction.