To drive in West Virginia, you need to have a driver’s license unless you are exempt. You do need to have your license on-hand at all times.
Testing and Preparing to Drive
Those who have instruction permits need to take tests to get their license. Those who have expired licenses from other states or a West Virginia license that is expired by three years or longer must also retest to get a license.
There are exemptions in West Virginia. Nonresidents who are 16 and have a license from another state don’t need to test in West Virginia. Neither do those driving a vehicle for the armed services of the United States or non-residents attending college or university in West Virginia with a license from another state.
If you need to take a test, you will need to go to the Division of Motor Vehicles Regional Offices or exam centers.
Graduated Driver License
West Virginia does have a graduated driver license program. You need to be 15 to apply for your license and Level 1 permit. It’s $7.50 per attempt when taking the knowledge test.
With a level 1 permit, you can drive with any licensed driver over the age of 21 in the front seat. You are limited to driving between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Level 2 permits, which are intermediate licenses, are $7.50 per attempt at the road skill test. You have to be 16 to apply for this and need to have held your Level 1 permit for at least six months. You also need to have 50 hours of certified driving instruction, with 10 at night, signed off on by a driving educator, legal guardian or parent.
With a Level 2 license, you can drive on your own but may not have more than one passenger under the age of 20 (outside your own family). Between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., you need to have a supervising adult present unless you’re returning from work, school, a religious activity or emergency situation.
A full license is Level 3. A Class E license costs $5 and is available on your 17th birthday.
Defensive Driving Courses
West Virginia does offer defensive driving courses that are approved by the DMV. Those who complete the Defensive Driving Course, or DDC, may have three points removed from the points on their record. The exception is that someone who has 14 points or more will not be able to have their suspension rescinded by completing the DDC and will need to complete the suspension along with paying the reinstatement fee before getting their license back.
For someone with 12 or 13 points, completing the DDC prior to the suspension date will rescind the suspension.
If you want to take the DDC, you can take it once every 12 months. The course may not be taken online and will need to be offered by Bluefield AAA, B-Safe, Inc., or West Virginia Driver Training.