(04/03/2008)
Gov. Joe Manchin has signed a bill that will increase the penalties against drunken drivers with blood alcohol levels of 0.15.

The measure, passed by the WV Legislature, creates an aggravated driving provision under the influence charge. That crime carries a mandatory penalty of two days to six months in jail.

Among other provisions, the new law allows first-time offenders who register a blood-alcohol content lower than 0.15 to have their licenses reinstated in 15 days instead of 30, but only if they have an Interlock device installed in their vehicles.

The Interlock device prevents the ignition from starting if alcohol is detected when the driver blows into it.

The measure also does away with a mandatory 24-hour lockup for those with a BAC of less than 0.15.

That's a change that will save cities and counties regional jail costs.

West Virginia's blood alcohol limit is 0.08.


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