West Virginia Public Records: How to Perform a West Virginia Public Records Search
September 28, 2022
Not only does the West Virginia Open Records Law specify that official records (such as criminal, court, inmate, and vital records) are public records, but it also stipulates a strict five-day response time for West Virginia public records requests by members of the public.
Interested individuals are not also expected to state the purpose of their request, and unless a record is protected by court order, members of the public may access public records in West Virginia without restrictions.
There are a variety of ways to access West Virginia public records, and we'll outline the best methods in this guide.
How to Find West Virginia Public Records
As mentioned above, one can perform a search for public records in West Virginia.
You have several tools to do so at your disposal, and you can perform a paid West Virginia public records search, or a West Virginia free public records search.
Below are the methods that you can use to gain access to public records in the state of West Virginia:
West Virginia Public Records: Inmate Records
Inmate records in the state of West Virginia are maintained by the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
These official documents supply information relating to offenders incarcerated in any correctional institution in the state, such as their physical identifying features and administrative information relating to their offenses.
How to Find West Virginia Inmate Records:
The West Virginia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation offers an online offender locator tool. Interested individuals can find detailed information relating to offenders and their crimes through this database.
To use the West Virginia DOCR offender locator tool, visit the department's website and locate the inmate locator tool, then provide the inmate's name and identification number to initiate a search.
West Virginia Vital Records
West Virginia vital records provide information about such events as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that took place within the state.
These records are maintained by the Vital Registration Office of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
Vital records in West Virginia are protected by a statutory period of confidentiality. During this period (100 years for birth records, 50 years for other vital records), only people named on the record, their immediate family members, and authorized legal representatives may obtain certified copies of these records.
How to Find West Virginia Vital Records
Since vital records in West Virginia are closed records and are not considered public records in West Virginia, requesters are required to provide a valid form of identification to access these records.
Typically, requesters of vital records in West Virginia must fill out, download, and print a certificate request form appropriate for their request and send it to the Department of Health and Human Resources Vital Registration Office.
Requesters must also include a valid means of identification and a $12 charge in their application.
Requesters may submit their application in person or via mail to:
Vital Registration Office Department of Health and Human Resources Room 165 350 Capitol Street Charleston, WV 25301-3701
Alternatively, interested individuals can order West Virginia vital records online from the Vital Registration Office of the state's Department of Health and Human Resources.
To access marriage or divorce records in West Virginia, requesters may also contact the County Clerk in the county where the marriage took place or in court where the divorce was finalized.
Public Records West Virginia: Criminal Records
Every time an individual has a run-in with law enforcement in West Virginia that results in their arrest or incarceration, new entries are made to their criminal record.
Criminal records are public records in West Virginia, and employers typically check the criminal records of potential employees during background checks.
The West Virginia State Police is the agency that handles the maintenance and dissemination of criminal records in the state, and interested parties may obtain criminal records online, in person, or via mail.
However, while the West Virginia State Police is the central repository for criminal records in the state, regional and county law enforcement agencies may also provide criminal history information.
How to Find West Virginia Criminal Records:
The Criminal Identification Bureau, an arm of the West Virginia State Police handles the maintenance of criminal records in the state.
Interested members of the public may access and obtain criminal records by performing an online criminal records search, or by requesting these records in person at the Bureau during normal business hours.
Criminal records in West Virginia may also be obtained on request at the offices of local county sheriffs, or in local courthouses.
The West Virginia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also provides criminal records, while interested individuals may request a criminal background check from the West Virginia Health and Human Services Bureau of Children and Families.
Public Records West Virginia: Court Records
Court records in West Virginia provide detailed information about individuals who have had encounters with the law in the state. Court records, being West Virginia public records, are accessible to members of the public on request.
How to Find Court Records in West Virginia:
There is no central repository for court records in the state of West Virginia, so people interested in accessing court records must make their request in person to the County Clerk of the court where the case was tried.
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