Motorists traveling through Ohio County are showing a complete disregard for the law and a nonchalant attitude when it comes to driving with a suspended license, according to Sheriff Pat Butler.
"It's a common occurrence," Butler said. "People just really don't care that their license is revoked, and they feel that they can still drive."
Deputies are citing suspended drivers two to five times a week, he added, and as many as four in a single day. Many of the suspensions are the result of unpaid citations, according to Butler, and drivers will offer up various excuses when deputies ask to see their driver's license.
Photo by Tyler Reynard
Ohio County Sheriff Pat Butler looks through traffic citations issued by his deputies last week.
"People will say they left their license at home, or it's in their other pair of pants," the sheriff said. "And 99 percent of the time, those are indicators that their license is suspended."
Unlike speeding or a stop sign violation, deputies cannot spot a suspended license on the roadway.
Butler acknowledged that his deputies can only cite those who they stop, and there are certainly more suspended drivers on the road.
Drivers' neglect is the main culprit, Butler said, with people simply failing to address various citations. He pointed out that out-of-state residents have 90 days to pay their fines, while West Virginia residents have 180 days.
Ignoring those citations will only lead to a more expensive tab - or jail time. A second conviction for driving while suspended carries a minimum $100 fine and maximum of $500, while a third offense also carries up to a $500 fine, as well as 30-90 days in jail, Butler noted.