West Virginia Arrest Records Online | StateRecords.org (2024)

Are Arrest Records Public in West Virginia?

Per the West Virginia Public Records Act, arrest records are open to members of the public. Anyone can conduct a West Virginia arrest search online or in person at any law enforcement agency in the state. Online requests can be made via the search tools on the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) website. In-person requests can be made during business hours at the law enforcement agency in the city/county where the arrest occurred.

Note that certain arrest records are deemed confidential. Per West Virginia Code §61-11-25, expunged arrest records are not available to the public. Additionally, juvenile arrest records and arrest information contained in investigatory records are restricted to a selected few. Law enforcement agencies do not release or disseminate arrest records that will reveal the identity of unknown informants. They also restrict access to arrest records involving crimes like domestic violence, stalking, and crisis intervention.

What is Considered an Arrest Record in West Virginia?

A West Virginia arrest record is a record of an individual’s criminal history. It features offenses an applicant has been contacted for and arrested by law enforcement agents. Despite being also considered part of West Virginia criminal records, the arrest record does not indicate final evidence of a person’s crime. Arrest records contain updated descriptions of an individual’s illegal activities. The record will show information on the arrest, the circ*mstances surrounding the arrest, the personal data of the person arrested, and the trial and its outcome if it leads to a guilty verdict. The arrest record also contains information on probation, parole, and incarceration. This record is kept by West Virginia law enforcement agencies, criminal justice departments and other agencies at different levels of government in West Virginia. The state allows for removing some information from the record when an individual has been acquitted of the charges.

Arrest records are prepared by the arresting officer under the name of the individual arrested for any misdemeanor, infraction, or felony. The record contains detailed information about the booking and detention of the detained individual. West Virginia Code Chapter 61 explains the various crimes and their punishment in the state. Based on this code, any individual found guilty can be arrested by law enforcement agents.

What Shows Up on an Arrest Record in West Virginia?

The arresting officer prepares the arrest record when an individual is arrested for any crime. The arrest record must include the following information:

Personal information: This includes the full name of the person, their age, current address, birthplace, occupation status, and social security number.

Physical information: This details the height, sex, weight, race, eye and hair color, and other distinctive attributes, such as tattoos.

Crime information: This includes classifying the crime (whether misdemeanor, infraction, or felony), a detailed description of the incident from victims and witnesses and all other criminal charges for which the individual was arrested. The court date is also entered here.

Arrest and booking information: This includes the suspect’s fingerprint, booking number, time and date of booking, time and date of arrest, arrest type, location of arrest, arresting agency, manner and time of release, and bail amount.

Any information about police interrogation.

Who Can Access Arrest Records in West Virginia?

Arrest records can be accessed by three main entities: the arrested individual, employers, and third parties. Most times, employers and third parties access arrest records when doing background checks on an individual. Companies or other employers do background checks to gather information about personal history. Arrest records can be inaccessible when convictions are sealed. Individuals can petition a court to seal some convictions based on specific state laws. When this happens, the records become inaccessible. Some federal and state exemptions affect accessing arrest records on the situation listed below:

  • When disclosing the information jeopardizes ongoing investigation on the case or related cases.
  • When disclosing the information endangers the life of any individual involved in a criminal investigation.
  • Parents and others entitled by the law can only access juvenile suspect records. Any individual with a court order can also access juvenile suspect records.

West Virginia Arrest Statistics

In the United States, each state collates information from local law enforcement agencies. Available records show a decline in the arrest rates in cities of West Virginia in 2020 compared to 2019. West Virginia annual crimes involve 5,674 violent crimes, 28,376 property crimes totalling 34,050 crimes in 2019. Violent crimes include murder (78), rape (754), robbery (378), and assault (4, 464). Property crimes include burglary (5, 891), theft (20, 066), and motor vehicle theft (2, 419). In 2019, statistics established that more people were arrested for rape under violent crimes and theft under property crimes.

The available national statistics show that West Virginia had a lower crime rate than the other 36 states in the federation in 2019. BOP statistics also showed 144,696 male inmates and 10,813 female inmates in West Virginia. Also, most of the inmates are between ages 36-40 (17.9%).

For FY 2022, about 23,563 criminal arrests occurred in West Virginia. About 8,974 of them were felony arrests, while 14,589 were misdemeanor arrests.

How Do I Look Up Someone’s Arrest Record in West Virginia?

Individuals can access arrest records both physically and electronically. In case of physical access, an individual interested in another person’s arrest record can approach the police department or local Sheriff’s office that carried out the arrest. The police departments and Sheriffs’ offices use different methods in dealing with requests for accessing arrest records. They also charge additional fees for accessing the arrest records physically.

Most police departments and Sheriffs’ offices provide an avenue for an online request for arrest records. The request is made online, and sometimes, the forms can be printed and submitted in person at the police department or Sheriff’s office.

Individuals interested in arrest records can also utilize various online services such as Third-party websites. They will provide the full name and city of the person to access arrest records through these search service providers. One also needs to pay the prescribed fee for the service. Furthermore, the West Virginia State Police operates an online criminal record finder.

How to Subpoena Arrest Record in West Virginia

A subpoena is an order from the court directing an individual to appear at a specific date, time and place to testify as a witness in a specified case. In West Virginia, the court clerk can issue a subpoena under the court’s seal. It must reflect the name of the court giving it and the title of the proceeding. It shall command the individual it is addressed to testify at the specified place and time. The clerk issues a blank subpoena signed and sealed. The party requesting it fills the blank warrant before serving it.

A subpoena can be served on a named witness when an ex parte application of a defendant cannot pay the witness fee, and the witness needs to testify. Then, the state will handle the fees and costs of the subpoenaed witness.

In West Virginia, the court may subpoena individuals to produce books, papers, documents or other objects at a time before the trial or to be inspected by the parties or their attorneys.

A subpoena can be given by a sheriff, a deputy sheriff or by any credible person who is not a part of the lawsuit and whose age is 18 years and above. The West Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 17 suggests that the subpoena may be given at any place within the state. Suppose an individual fails to obey a subpoena without adequate explanation. In that case, it will be considered a contempt of the court.

How to Search for an Inmate in the West Virginia Prison System?

Adequate records about inmates exist in the state that could be consulted when searching for inmates in West Virginia. For instance, the offender search section of the website WVDOCR can be used when looking for an inmate in the West Virginia prison system. This website allows individuals to access records depending on the facility where they think the offender is remanded, whether in prison or jail. The interested party may click on the various options provided on the page. The requester can also use the daily incarceration search option to get information on persons admitted on the same day at any correctional facility in the state.

For instance, if individuals click on the daily incarcerations link, they will have access to a daily list of inmates in any of the county’s regional correctional facilities or jail remanded on the search date. Here, the individual will find the offender’s name, the date of birth, case number, charges, case status, and date of admission. Also, suppose individuals click on offender search (Prisons). In that case, they will find information about inmates when they provide the offender’s first and last name or the offender identification number (OID). Furthermore, individuals can use the offender search (Jail) link in the search aspect of the WVDOCR website or the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority (RJA) website. It is crucial to provide the full name of the inmate to narrow the search. Juvenile criminal records are not available online or to the public in West Virginia.

How to Find Recent Arrests in West Virginia

The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR)has a central Inmate Search tool that can be used to retrieve information about individuals arrested by law enforcement officers. For example, follow the following steps to find recent arrests in Kanawha County and Berkeley County:

  • Go to the DCR website
  • Scroll down to the “Offender Searches” section
  • Click “Offender Search (Jail)”
  • Conduct a search by name. Provide at least the first three letters of the arrested person’s last name.
  • Check the reCAPTCHA box and press the Search button
  • The displayed result will show a list of offenders with the search name, click on “More Info” for specific arrest details

The search results reveal the arrested person’s name, mugshot, sex, birth date, height, weight, race, location, booking date, and court order list. For a more specific recent arrest search, use the “Daily Incarcerations” search tool provided by DCR. Select a county from the list provided to begin a search. A list of arrests made in the county as of that day will be displayed.

How Do I Find Out if Someone Was in Jail in West Virginia?

The offender search section of the WVDOCR website can be used by anyone who wishes to find out if someone was in jail in West Virginia. Individuals can visit the offender search (prisons) and the offender search (jail) section of the website to obtain information on current inmates or do a background check on former inmates. Individuals can also visit the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority website for such information. Furthermore, interested individuals can utilize the available online search services to do a background check to find out if any individual has been in jail in West Virginia.

How Long Does the West Virginia Arrest Record Stay on File?

There is no time limit on arrest records in West Virginia. This implies that criminal records do not disappear with time. Once an entry is made on an individual criminal record, the entry stays for life on the official criminal record of the individual until certain legal steps are taken.

Expungement or pardon through legal means is the only way for individuals to remove a mistake on their arrest record. A visit to the criminal history portion of the National Crime Information Centre will reveal information on the arrest and court disposition of an individual. Suppose a case was dismissed against an individual in West Virginia. In that case, the record will still show arrest information but dismissed will be displayed under court disposition. However, the government agency maintaining the record will cancel all entries on an individual criminal record on successful expungement.

Are Arrest Reports Public in West Virginia?

An arrest report is a document that provides accurate, detailed, and informative details of an arrest. It is usually the starting point of an investigation. Crime victims use arrest reports as evidence to support their claims. Arrest reports can also be used to track criminal activity trends in a city or county. In West Virginia, arrest reports are not public, but some information in them may be made public in arrest records. For example, most arrest records contain information like arrest date and time and name of the arresting agency and arrestee. This information is usually obtained from arrest reports. An arrest record is a public document that contains information about a person’s arrest and criminal history.

How to Obtain an Arrest Record for Free in West Virginia?

Arrest records in West Virginia are classified as public records. They are available for public request from various government agencies such as local law enforcement, county or the state. Most time, obtaining these records by an individual will request that the individual pay a specific fee for reproducing the said document. On the other hand, an individual can freely access the various government agencies’ websites for arrest records kept by them. However, some arrest records, such as juvenile arrest records, are not readily available and can only be accessed by individuals authorized by the law.

How to Search for a West Virginia Arrest Record Online Using a Third-Party Search Service?

Third-party search services are prominent all over West Virginia. These search service operators help overcome the challenges individuals face in obtaining paper copies of arrest records. Third-party search services also help reduce the stress an individual goes through in accessing an online repository or database maintained by law enforcement agencies. When individuals decide to go through these search service providers, they will have to navigate the website of the selected search service operator and provide the necessary information. Details to be provided include the first and last names of the record owner and the city or county of the record owner. These third-party search services charge a fee for their services. For instance, one can pay for one-time access, and one can also subscribe for a month.

How to Correct an Arrest Record in West Virginia?

If an individual’s arrest record has a mistake; there are established procedures to correct the identified mistake. In the case of a mistake, the individual needs to approach the government agency keeping the record to correct the identified mistake. An individual requesting for an error to be corrected must have in possession a copy of the record. The individual can then write a letter to the government agency highlighting the mistakes identified and request that the error be fixed. This correspondence is the practice in some states across the United States.

In addition, some other states like West Virginia provide a form with specific information that individuals can follow to correct identified mistakes in one’s arrest record.

In West Virginia, individuals can take the following steps to correct errors in their arrest records:

  • Download the Challenge of Criminal History Record form (WVSP-136A) from the WVSP website.
  • Complete the downloaded form
  • Mail the filled form and a money order or a cashier’s check of 20 dollars payable to the West Virginia State Police superintendent. The address is West Virginia State Police, Criminal History Section, 701 Jefferson Road, South Charleston, WV 25309. The written request should state the information that the individual feels is incorrect. The individual should also provide copies of available proof and other supporting documents alongside the form.

If the mistake is on the federal criminal history record. In that case, the individual can address this mistake with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The individual can send a written challenge request to the bureau’s CJIS division. The letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation can be addressed to FBI CJIS Division, Attention: Criminal History Analysis Team 1, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306.

Further instructions to be followed by any individual who intends to challenge their criminal history record can be found at the FBI website.

How to Expunge Arrest Records in West Virginia?

Expungement is one of the ways an individual can seal or erase their arrest record in West Virginia. Expungement is the legal procedure of asking the court to erase something from one’s criminal record so it cannot be accessed or seen by the public. If an individual meets certain conditions, the state of West Virginia accepts that specific convictions and charges be expunged from an individual’s arrest or criminal record. However, a judge must approve this removal.

The law of expungement is a complicated one in West Virginia. There are different expungement laws and different requirements for each law. For instance, there are different rules in West Virginia if an individual wants to remove the following:

  • Criminal convictions where an individual was found guilty after a trial.
  • Criminal charges where charges were dismissed, and the individual was not found guilty after the trial.

There is a time frame to be followed by any individual who intends to file for expungement. In the case of criminal charges, the individual must wait for two months (60 days) before filing for expungement. For an individual convicted of a crime, they can only file for expungement after completing the jail or prison sentence.

Individuals must prove that the court should approve the expungement after filing for it. The court will weigh the burden of proof presented to decide whether to allow a record expunged from the criminal record.

Individuals should follow these steps to file for expungement of criminal charges in West Virginia.

  • Download form SCA-C 903 or get the form from the clerk of the circuit court.
  • File for expungement with the clerk in the county where the criminal charges were filed.
  • Serve a copy of the motion to the prosecuting attorney for the county where the charges were filed.
  • Follow the instructions of the court. Failure to abide by the instruction may lead to the request being denied.

Individuals need to follow these steps to file for expungement of a criminal conviction in West Virginia:

  • Download the form from the website of the Supreme Court or get the form from the clerk of the circuit court
  • File the motion after reading the instructions on the form carefully.
  • Follow the instructions given by the court as regards every detail involved in the process.
  • Serve copies to everyone involved, such as the superintendent, the state police, the prosecuting attorney, the prison commissioner or jail commissioner where the individual was confined, and the court.

In West Virginia, filing for expungement for criminal charges is free. However, a fee of $200 is required for filing for expungement for criminal convictions. Individuals can apply for a fee waiver if they cannot afford the payment. The court, at its discretion, can advise that individuals can pay all pending fees, fines, and restitution before they file for expungement. Also, individuals pay a certain fee to the West Virginia State Police if the expungement is granted.

After the individual has filed for expungement, the prosecuting attorney will serve the petition on those concerned. If there is any opposition, the individual will receive a notice of opposition within 30 days which must be responded to promptly. After the response, the circuit court must do any of the three listed below within 60 days of filing for expungement.

The court has the following options after considering the arguments in support of the expungement application.

  • Grant the petition for expungement.
  • Set the case for hearing.
  • Dismiss the petition or request
  • Request for more information from the individual who filed for an expungement.

Expungement is a complex process. As a result of this, some individuals might require the services of a lawyer. The lawyer will guide them through the process to ensure they are eligible to file for expungement and to help them navigate the complex web of filing the motion. Also, a lawyer might represent the individual during the entire process if the individual does not want to represent themselves. The individual can visit the web for more detailed information on filing for expungement.

West Virginia Arrest Records Online | StateRecords.org (2024)
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