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West Virginia Public Records

In West Virginia, public records are accessible to citizens and various entities, offering vital insights into the state’s historical events and people. These records serve research, business, or personal interests. Under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), anyone can request these records from state and local government bodies, including the judicial, executive, and legislative branches. A specific purpose for the request is not required, but the request should be in writing and directed to the relevant agency.

How to request West Virginia Public Records?

The simplest method to obtain a public record is to reach out directly to the state or city agency responsible. Access can also be secured via private sources, given the records are open to the public.

Table of Contents

To request West Virginia public records, proceed with the steps below:

Where to find Public Records in West Virginia

Depending on the type of record you are seeking, there are numerous options for where you can find public records in West Virginia

Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce):

These are available through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, specifically the Vital Registration Office. Records can be requested online or by visiting their office.

Property Records:

You can find these at the county assessor's office in the county where the property is located. Many counties offer online databases for property searches.

Business Records:

The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office maintains records of businesses registered in the state. These records are accessible through their website.

Court Records:

Accessible through the West Virginia Judiciary, court records can be searched online via the court system's website for various legal filings and case information.

Driving Records:

The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles provides driving records. You can request your driving record online, by mail, or in person at a DMV office.

Professional Licenses

The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles provides driving records. You can request your driving record online, by mail, or in person at a DMV office.

West Virginia State Archives:

The West Virginia Archives and History, a section of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, is a resource for historical records and can be accessed online or in person.

Are West Virginia Public Records Available Online?

Many West Virginia public records are available online, offering convenient access to a range of information. Vital records, property records, and business records, for instance, can be accessed through respective state department or county websites. Additionally, court records and professional license verifications often have online databases. However, the availability of specific records online can vary depending on the type of record and the agency responsible for maintaining it. Some records might still require a formal request or an in-person visit to the relevant office.

Which records are public in West Virginia?

Which Records are Not Public in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, certain records are exempt from public disclosure under the state’s Public Records Law. These exemptions include:

West Virginia Background Checks

West Virginia background checks are processes for reviewing an individual’s history, typically for employment, housing, or other official purposes. 

What Can Be Included In a Background Check Report?

Criminal Records

Records of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations.

Employment Verification

Confirmation of past job positions and durations.

Education Verification

Checking academic qualifications and degrees.

Credit History

Financial information relevant for positions involving financial responsibilities.

Driving Records

Driving history including any traffic violations.

Professional Licenses

Verification of any required professional licenses.

West Virginia Court Records

Overview of the West Virginia court system and its Structure

The West Virginia court system is organized in a tiered structure:

  • Supreme Court of Appeals: The highest court in the state, it reviews decisions of lower courts and has no jury.
  • Circuit Courts: General jurisdiction trial courts handling felony criminal cases, civil cases, and family cases.
  • Family Courts: Specialized courts handling family law matters like divorce, custody, and support.
  • Magistrate Courts: Lower courts handling minor criminal and civil cases, including small claims and preliminary hearings in criminal matters.
  • Municipal Courts: City-level courts dealing with city ordinance violations.

Types of West Virginia Court Records

West Virginia Civil and Small Claims Records

West Virginia Criminal Records

West Virginia Family Records

West Virginia Probate Records

West Virginia Traffic Records

West Virginia Criminal Records

Restrictions, Limitations, and Confidentiality

In West Virginia, court records are generally public, but there are restrictions and confidentiality measures for certain types of information. These include personal information like social security numbers, sensitive details in family law cases, juvenile records, and information protected under attorney-client privilege. Additionally, records related to ongoing criminal investigations or those sealed by court order are also confidential. These limitations are in place to balance public access to court records with the privacy rights of individuals and the integrity of legal proceedings.

What do these records contain

West Virginia Public Vital Records

Marriage and Divorce Records: Marriage and divorce records in West Virginia are managed by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, specifically the Vital Registration Office. These records include details of marriages and divorces, such as dates and parties involved. Marriage records from 1964 and divorce records from 1968 to the present are available. To access these records, visit the West Virginia Vital Registration Office’s website.

Birth and Death Records: The Vital Registration Office also maintains birth and death records in West Virginia within the Department of Health and Human Resources. These records provide important information such as dates and places of birth or death. Birth records from 1917 and death records from 1917 to the present are accessible. For requesting birth and death records, individuals can visit the Vital Registration Office’s website.

West Virginia Public Criminal Records

Definition and Types of criminal records in West Virginia

West Virginia criminal records, often referred to as rap sheets, are official documents detailing an individual’s criminal history within the state. These records typically include:

  • Personal Information: The individual’s name, date of birth, physical description, and sometimes photographs (mugshots).
  • Arrest Records: Details of arrests, including the date, charges, and the arresting agency.
  • Conviction Information: Court convictions, sentences, and any relevant court dates.
  • Incarceration Records: If applicable, details about jail or prison time, including dates and locations of incarceration.

Police Records and Reports

Police records and reports in West Virginia contain information about criminal activities, incidents, and police actions. These may include arrest reports, incident reports, and accident reports. For access, contact the local police department responsible for the record or visit their official website.

Booking Records and Reports

Booking records in West Virginia provide details of individuals booked into jail, including personal information, charges, and booking photos. These records can be obtained from the respective county sheriff's office or jail.

DUI Records

DUI records in West Virginia document offenses related to driving under the influence. These records can be found through the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles or court records. For more information, visit the DMV website.

Felony and Misdemeanor Records

Felony and misdemeanor records in West Virginia provide information about serious and less serious criminal convictions, respectively. These records are accessible through the West Virginia State Police or the specific court where the case was heard.

Parole Records

Parole records in West Virginia detail the supervision and compliance of individuals released from prison on parole. These records can be accessed through the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Probation Records

Probation records in West Virginia include details about an individual's probation terms and their compliance. The Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation maintains these records

Warrant Search

In West Virginia, warrant searches can be conducted through local law enforcement agencies or online databases provided by county sheriff's offices.

Inmate And Jail Records

Inmate and jail records in West Virginia contain information about individuals incarcerated in state prisons and local jails. These records can be accessed through the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Inmate Search tool.

What you can find

In West Virginia inmate records, you can typically find:

  • Personal Information: Such as the inmate’s name, date of birth, and physical descriptors.
  • Incarceration Details: Including the date of incarceration, the facility where the inmate is housed, and expected release date.
  • Criminal Information: Details about the offenses for which the inmate was convicted.
  • Sentence Information: Including the length and terms of the sentence.
  • Conduct and Disciplinary Records: Information about the inmate’s behavior and any disciplinary actions taken while incarcerated.

How to Perform an Inmate Search in West Virginia

To perform an inmate search in West Virginia:

  • Use the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Inmate Search: Visit their official website where they provide an inmate locator tool.
  • Enter the Required Information: You can search using the inmate’s name or offender ID number.
  • Review the Search Results: The results will provide details such as the inmate’s location, status, and other relevant information.
  • Contact the Facility for More Information: If you need further details, you can contact the correctional facility where the inmate is housed.

Can I look up mugshots in West Virginia?

Yes, in West Virginia, you can generally look up mugshots as they are considered public records. Mugshots are typically available through the law enforcement agency that made the arrest, such as the local police department or sheriff’s office. Some agencies may also provide mugshots online through their websites or public databases. However, it’s important to respect privacy and legal considerations when accessing and using mugshots.

West Virginia Arrest Records

West Virginia arrest records are official documents that provide details about an individual’s encounters with law enforcement that have led to arrest. 

What Do These Records Contain:

These records typically contain:

  • Personal Information: Such as the individual’s name, date of birth, and physical description.
  • Arrest Details: Including the date, time, location of the arrest, and the law enforcement agency involved.
  • Charges: Specific criminal charges brought against the individual at the time of arrest.
  • Booking Information: Details about the booking process, including booking photos (mugshots), fingerprints, and any bail or bond set.

West Virginia Property and Asset Records Online

To find property and asset records online in West Virginia, you can visit the website of the county assessor’s office in the county where the property is located. These websites typically offer online databases where you can conduct searches based on addresses, owner names, or parcel numbers, providing details such as property valuations, tax information, and ownership history.

Unclaimed Properties in West Virginia

For unclaimed properties in West Virginia, the State Treasurer’s Office oversees a database of unclaimed assets such as forgotten bank accounts, insurance proceeds, or stocks. You can search for unclaimed property through their online portal, WVTreasury.com, and file a claim if you discover assets that may belong to you. This service is free and provides a simple way for residents to check and reclaim their lost or forgotten properties.

Driving Records

To find driving records in West Virginia, request them from the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These records can be obtained online, by mail, or in person at a DMV office. For online requests, visit the West Virginia DMV’s official website and follow the provided instructions. If requesting by mail or in person, complete the necessary forms and submit them along with the required fee to the DMV.

Civil Driving Infractions

In West Virginia, civil driving infractions are non-criminal traffic violations that usually result in fines and points on your driving record, but not jail time. Examples include speeding, running a red light or stop sign, illegal parking, and failure to yield. These infractions are less serious than criminal traffic offenses, such as DUI (driving under the influence) or reckless driving. Accumulating too many points from these infractions can lead to consequences like license suspension, mandatory driver improvement courses, and increased insurance premiums.

West Virginia White Pages - Find People, Addresses, and Other Non-Official Information

Address Search ​

An address search in West Virginia allows you to access information related to a specific property, such as the owner’s details, property value, tax information, and historical data. These searches are typically conducted through the county assessor’s website for the county in which the property is located. Such searches are useful for real estate inquiries, legal purposes, or personal interest.

People Search​

A people search in West Virginia is a tool to find information about individuals, such as contact details, background information, and public records. These searches can be conducted through various online directories and services. People search tools are commonly used for reconnecting with acquaintances, background checks, or genealogical research.

Can I Search By a Phone Number and Identify The Owner?

Yes, in West Virginia, you can perform a search by phone number to identify the owner. This is typically done through a process called a reverse phone lookup, which can be carried out using various online services and directories. These services match the phone number to a person or a business, providing details such as the owner’s name and address. However, it’s important to use reputable services and be mindful of privacy considerations.

License Plate Lookup in West Virginia

In West Virginia, license plate lookups are restricted and generally not available to the general public due to privacy laws. However, certain entities like law enforcement agencies can perform these searches for official purposes. If you have a valid reason, such as being involved in a hit-and-run incident, you should report it to the police, who can conduct a license plate search. Private individuals typically cannot access this information legally. Remember, using someone’s license plate information without proper authorization can be illegal and is subject to privacy laws.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who and why can request public records?

In West Virginia, any member of the public, including individuals, organizations, and businesses, can request public records.

Are there fees associated with requesting public records?

  1. Fees may be associated with requesting public records in West Virginia, typically to cover the costs of copying and processing.

Are public records Free to access?

Accessing the records themselves is usually free, but some fees may apply for copying or certain types of processing.

What is the response time for public records requests?

Agencies in West Virginia are required to respond to public records requests as promptly as possible, usually within five working days.

Can my request be rejected?

Yes, your request for public records in West Virginia can be rejected if the records are exempt under law, such as for reasons of personal privacy, security, or if they contain proprietary information.

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