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West Virginia Criminal Records

Maintained by various law enforcement agencies, courts, and correctional institutions, West Virginia Criminal Records provide valuable information about individuals involved in criminal activities within the state. These records significantly ensure public safety by offering comprehensive details on an individual's criminal history.

The kind of data and details contained in criminal records may vary depending on the type of record presented and between jurisdictions. However, criminal records in West Virginia usually include the following information:

  • The subject's personal information, such as full name, age, race, and gender
  • Any aliases
  • Fingerprints
  • Mugshot
  • Current and past warrants
  • Arrest details such as the date, time, and location of the arrest
  • Current and past convictions
  • Court records

The information found in these records offers many advantages to the public, with one key benefit being able to perform background checks. In West Virginia, employers, landlords, and organizations can utilize this information to assess the honesty and reliability of individuals applying for jobs, renting properties, or seeking positions of authority.

Furthermore, these criminal records assist law enforcement agencies in investigating and preventing crime. They can access these records to gather information, identify possible suspects, and detect patterns of criminal behavior.

The West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) governs the accessibility of criminal records in the state. This legislation allows individuals to request and obtain relevant criminal records and ensures the availability of these documents to the general public unless specific exemptions apply.

In West Virginia, different criminal justice agencies at the state and county level have their methods and protocols for gathering, managing, and providing access to criminal records.

However, the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) is the state's primary repository for criminal records. The WVSP is responsible for centralizing and maintaining these records, ensuring their accuracy and accessibility to authorized individuals and organizations in the state.

What Are the Types of Crimes in West Virginia?

West Virginia Criminal Records contain various crimes individuals have committed within the state. When conducting a criminal record search in West Virginia, one may come across the following offenses:


Felonies in West Virginia represent serious criminal offenses considered more severe than misdemeanors. These crimes pose a significant risk of harm, profoundly impact victims and society, and violate established laws.

Unlike many other states, West Virginia does not classify felonies for sentencing purposes. Instead, the laws for each felony specify the permissible range of punishments. 

For example, a person guilty of malicious assault will receive an average sentence of two years and a maximum of 10 years. On the other hand, first-degree robbery carries a minimum sentence of 10 years, while second-degree theft requires a minimum of five years and a maximum prison sentence of 18 years.

In addition to imprisonment, judges in West Virginia may impose fines for certain felonies. For instance, someone guilty of producing drugs might face a $25,000 penalty and a prison sentence ranging from one year to a maximum of 15 years.

Numerous crimes fell under the umbrella of West Virginia felonies, including the following:

  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Treason
  • Arson


In West Virginia, misdemeanors are a less significant category of criminal offenses than felonies. In general, these offenses cause less damage, have a lesser impact on victims and society, and are less severe. However, they are still subject to a one-year jail sentence, fines, probation, or a combination of these punishments.

Like felonies, West Virginia does not divide misdemeanors into distinct categories for sentencing purposes. Instead, the regulations for each offense specify the maximum acceptable punishment and, in some cases, the minimum sanction that must be inflicted.

Furthermore, state law only imposes a fine for the least significant misdemeanors. In most circumstances, however, the courts may impose jail time, a penalty, or both on the defendant.

Here are some examples of misdemeanors and their potential penalties in West Virginia:

  • Retail theft worth less than $500 ($250 fine)
  • Shoplifting products over $500 (60 days in jail and a $100 to $500 fine)
  • Harassment against a court ruling (90 days to 1 year in jail and $2,000 to $5,000 fine)
  • Sexual assault (1 year in jail and $500 fine)
  • Petit larceny (1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine)

Furthermore, judges in West Virginia have the authority to determine the appropriate sentence for each case, considering the limits established in the criminal laws. When deciding on a suitable punishment, judges typically consider factors such as the nature of the offense, the surrounding circumstances, and the defendant's criminal history.

How Does Probation Work in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, probation is a court-ordered sanction allowing an individual to remain in the community under specific conditions while supervised by a probation officer. It provides an option instead of going to jail, giving people a chance to improve their behavior and work toward rehabilitation.

The Division of Probation Services (DPS), which operates under the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, is responsible for the state's management and administration of probation.

This division works closely with the courts, law enforcement agencies, treatment providers, and other stakeholders involved in the criminal justice system. They collaborate with these entities to gather information, assess the needs of probationers, and develop appropriate supervision plans tailored to each individual.

The probation process in West Virginia begins with a pre-sentence report conducted by probation officers. This report assists the court in determining whether probation is an appropriate course of action for the offender. 

It considers various factors, such as the nature and severity of the offense, the offender's criminal history, and their willingness to comply with the conditions of probation.

Once the court decides to impose probation, specific conditions are set forth. These conditions vary depending on the offense and the individual's circumstances but generally include regular meetings with a probation officer, drug or alcohol testing, participation in treatment programs or counseling, community service, and compliance with all laws.

If the probationer fails to comply with these conditions imposed or commits another offense while on probation, they may face severe consequences, including revocation of probation and subsequent imprisonment.

The probation duration in West Virginia can vary based on the offense committed. However, under section 62-12-11 of the West Virginia Code, probation in the state cannot last more than seven years, including any extensions.

When the probation period ends, the officer must report the probationer's behavior to the court. Based on this report, the court can discharge the probationer or extend the probation period.

How Does Parole Work in West Virginia?

Parole in West Virginia can be defined as a prisoner's conditional release before their full sentence completion. It allows individuals to serve the remainder of their sentence in the community, provided they abide by certain conditions and are supervised by parole officers.

The West Virginia Parole Board (WVPB), consisting of appointed members with the necessary expertise in criminal justice and social work, is responsible for evaluating, deciding, and supervising parole cases.

The WVPB possesses the authority to release eligible inmates into the community under specific conditions, facilitating the reintegration of offenders and ensuring their adherence to rules and regulations throughout their parole period.

Furthermore, they can revoke parole if the parolee fails to comply with the requirements or commits new offenses. In such instances, the parolee may be sent back to prison to complete the remaining sentence.

When evaluating an inmate for parole, the WVPB assesses both positive and negative aspects in each area and does not limit its decision-making to any particular factor at the expense of others. It also considers several additional factors, including the following:

  • The specifics of the violation
  • The parolee's previous convictions
  • The individual's behavior while the incarnation
  • The parolee's involvement in social programs
  • The individual's physical, mental, and psychiatric examination results

In addition, the WVPB considers whether the inmate has a comprehensive aftercare plan and employment prospects.

What are Parole Conditions in West Virginia?

Once granted parole in West Virginia, individuals must abide by specific conditions set forth by WVPB. These conditions aim to facilitate the parolee's rehabilitation, monitor their behavior, and reduce the likelihood of reoffending. 

By adhering to these conditions, parolees demonstrate their commitment to their personal growth and ability to reintegrate into society as law-abiding citizens.

The conditions of parole in West Virginia may vary depending on the specifics of each case, but the following are the typical requirements imposed on parolees:

  • Report within a day
  • Allow uninterrupted contact at home or work
  • Remain within a specific region
  • Pay the monthly monitoring fee
  • Request authorization before relocating or switching employers
  • Submit a monthly report in writing
  • Acquire and keep employment
  • Regularly report to the designated probation officer or agency
  • Avoid visiting specific establishments, such as bars, and taking particular drugs.
  • Maintain legal conduct or affiliation
  • Follow other set regulations

Furthermore, parole officers can impose additional special conditions on offenders. These conditions may vary from one parole officer to another based on their professional judgment and the specific circumstances of each case.

How Does Expungement Work in West Virginia?

A criminal record can affect someone's life in short and long-term ways. Fortunately, some jurisdictions, including West Virginia, allow the expungement of criminal records to prevent these consequences.

In simple terms, expungement refers to removing criminal records from public view. Once expunged, it is essentially hidden from public access, allowing individuals to move forward without the burden of a criminal history haunting them.

To be eligible for expungement in West Virginia, an individual must meet specific requirements. First, the person requesting an expungement must have fulfilled all provisions of their sentence, involving any confinement, probation, or settlement of fines. In addition, they must exhibit excellent and lawful behavior after they finish their sentence.

The eligibility waiting period varies depending on the nature of the offense. Most of the time, interested individuals must wait years after their term is over before they can file a petition for expungement.

For instance, under section 61-11-26 of WVC, a person can apply to the appropriate court in the county where the conviction happened to expunge their misdemeanor charges one year after the conviction and completion of any sentence of jail and supervision. 

Multiple misdemeanor convictions are also eligible for expungement two years after the last conviction and the conclusion of any period of detention or custody.

Additionally, this state's law indicates that only non-violent offenses for felony charges are eligible for expungement five years after the conclusion of any prison sentence and monitoring. It also specifies which crimes in West Virginia Criminal Records qualify for expungement.

What is the Expungement Process in New Virginia?

The expungement process in West Virginia typically begins with filing a petition in the Circuit Court where the conviction occurred.

There are separate petition forms for misdemeanor and felony convictions, so individuals must ensure they choose the correct one. On these forms, the individual seeking expungement must provide relevant information, such as the nature of the offense, the date of conviction, and other required details.

Once filed, individuals must serve these documents to different individuals, including the arresting agency, prosecuting attorney, the superintendent of WVSP, and the appropriate court that handled the case.

After filing, the prosecuting attorney serves the petition on any identified victim. Once served, the court will review the petition and decide whether to grant or dismiss it.

Furthermore,  since the court may dismiss the case without a hearing, verifying eligibility and ensuring all necessary information is included in the petition before filing is crucial.

How To Obtain a Criminal Record in West Virginia

Individuals can follow simple steps to access or obtain West Virginia Criminal Records.

First, individuals should identify the appropriate source for the desired criminal records. In this state, the primary custodian of these records is the WVSP. They maintain a comprehensive database that encompasses criminal records from across the state.

For those seeking a convenient option, the WVSP provides an online resource called IdentoGO that allows the public to perform criminal record searches. By employing IdentoGO services, individuals can conduct background checks or obtain the required records.

For more information about obtaining a criminal record through the WVSP, visit the Criminal Records page on their website.

Alternatively, individuals can request in-person by visiting their local county Sheriff's Office. These offices often have access to criminal records and can assist in locating the necessary information.

It is also worth considering additional sources in obtaining state criminal records. For example, the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation maintains records of incarcerated individuals. Meanwhile, the West Virginia Health and Human Services Bureau of Children and Families conducts specific criminal background checks for families.

Remember that a minimal fee may be associated with accessing records from these alternative sources.

To ensure a smooth process, individuals should carefully follow the specific procedures the chosen source outlines. It may involve filling out request forms, providing relevant details, and paying applicable fees. Adhering to these procedures helps streamline the process and meets all requirements.

What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, certain entities, such as employers, government agencies, and organizations, can conduct criminal background checks. While the state does not mandate all employers to perform background checks on job applicants, particular industries and positions have legal obligations or regulations that necessitate such screenings.

However, employers or authorized entities must adhere to federal laws when conducting a background check in West Virginia. These laws regulate the rules and requirements surrounding conducting background checks and aim to ensure fair and lawful practices while protecting the rights and privacy of individuals.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are two significant pieces of legislation that address different aspects of civil rights and consumer protection in West Virginia.

Title VII is a federal law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on various protected characteristics. This law ensures equal employment opportunities and prevents discriminatory practices such as hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, and terms of employment based on these protected characteristics.

Under this law, employers who conduct background checks and find criminal convictions must consider each offense individually concerning the job before hiring. It helps prevent discrimination based on criminal history.

On the other hand, the FCRA is a federal law designed to regulate the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer credit information. The FCRA promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in credit reports.

It also regulates the use of details given to employers during background investigations. In West Virginia, employers must inform applicants of their intent to conduct background investigations and obtain written consent under the FCRA.

Furthermore, if unfavorable employment decisions are made based on the results of a background check, employers must follow the FCRA's adverse action procedure.

Counties in West Virginia

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in West Virginia

Kanawha County Sheriff's Office409 Virginia St, Charleston, WV
Berkeley County Sheriff's Office510 S. Raleigh Street, Martinsburg, WV
Cabell County Sheriff's Office2726 Howell's Mill Rd, Ona, WV
Monongalia County Sheriff's Office116 Walnut St, Morgantown, WV
Wood County Sheriff's Office401 2nd St, Parkersburg, WV
Raleigh County Sheriff's Office201 S Eisenhower Dr, Beckley, WV
Harrison County Sheriff's Office301 W. Main Street, Clarksburg, WV
Mercer County Sheriff's Office1501 W Main St, Princeton, WV
Marion County Sheriff's Office316 Monroe Street, Fairmont, WV
Putnam County Sheriff's Office236 Courthouse Drive, Winfield, WV