Arrest Records in West Virginia

Table of Contents

Need more information? Check out our guides to West Virginia background checks and West Virginia public records.

 

West Virginia has a population of around 1.8 million, making it the 39th most populated and 29th most densely populated state in the country. The state recorded a 2018 violent crime rate of 2.9 per 1,000 which, despite being higher than its neighbor Virginia’s, is significantly lower than the national rate. 

However, West Virginia does have a few unsafe spots, such as Beckley, the state’s most dangerous city, which earned a violent crime rate over three times higher than the statewide rate. West Virginia doesn’t experience a high concentration of arrests, recording the 33rd ranked rate in the nation in 2018. 

West Virginia Arrest and Crime Statistics

  • In 2018, around 29.2 thousand arrests were made in West Virginia, as reported by 131 law enforcement agencies. Just 496 of these arrests were made of minors under the age of 18.
  • The leading identified cause of arrests in the state was drug abuse violations by a considerable margin, resulting in over 6 thousand arrests.
  • West Virginia has the 15th highest sex offenders per capita rate in the U.S.

Sources: FBI: 2018 Crime in the United States, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

 

What is a public arrest record?

An arrest record is a report produced by a law enforcement entity after the arrest or apprehension of an individual which contains the details of the incident, the individual’s personal information, and occasionally includes additional information about the individual’s criminal record.

An arrest record is often a key document in a criminal case and may play a significant role in an ensuing trial. The arrest record may remain in the public record for a long time regardless of whether the suspect is ultimately convicted of the crime(s) for which they were initially arrested. This means that it can be accessed by the general public.  

What is included in a public arrest record?

  • Description of the incident: An arrest record will include a chronological account of the alleged crime produced by the arresting officer that may utilize information provided by first-hand witnesses and/or victims of the alleged crime. 
  • Date and location of the arrest
  • Physical description: The height, weight, hair color, sex, and race of the arrested person, along with other distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks. 
  • Personal information: The name, age, date of birth, phone number, address, social security number, and other contact information of the arrested individual, as well as any other names the person may go by.
  • Photographs
  • Fingerprints
  • Criminal charges filed
  • Classification of the crime: Whether the alleged crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
  • Bail
  • Court date
  • Police interrogation details

What are the types of charges that may appear on an arrest record?

Generally, charges are classified into three main categories:

  • Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is typically a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering. 
  • Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, but less severe than a felony, and generally punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
  • Felony – A felony is the most serious type of crime and generally results in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Having a felony on one’s record may result in limitations of employment and the acquisition of specialty licenses. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and arson.  

Who can access arrest records?

As in most other states, arrest records (also known as arrest reports) are public records in West Virginia and can be accessed by anyone upon request to a law enforcement agency, and may come up during a routine background check. 

Other examples of West Virginia public records include:

  • vital records such as birth and death certificates
  • marriage licenses
  • mugshots
  • court records
  • voting records
  • property records 

Where are physical copies of arrest records kept in West Virginia?

Arrest records are typically held by the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest, usually a local police department or county sheriff’s office. They also may be kept in the archive of a state government agency, or circuit court. 

While arrest records may be held in a variety of locations, West Virginia’s central repository of criminal records is maintained by the West Virginia State Police Criminal Identification Bureau

Why can’t I access an arrest record in West Virginia?

There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to access an arrest record. Although the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to release arrest records and other public records, records that fall under certain exemptions can be withheld from the public.

The FOIA includes nine exemptions that allow agencies to withhold documents, such as arrest records, and not release them to the public. They are:

  1. The information is classified to protect natural security. 
  2. The information focuses on the internal rules and practices of the agency.
  3. Another federal law prohibits the release of information.
  4. The information includes confidential trade secrets and/or commercial and financial information. 
  5. The information includes privileged, confidential communicative exchanges between two agencies. 
  6. The information could pose a danger to another person’s privacy if released.
  7. The information is reserved for law enforcement purposes in a court case or an investigation or could reveal a confidential source. 
  8. The information includes confidential information about financial institution supervision. 
  9. The information includes geographical information about wells.

Additionally, some state laws limit the availability of arrest records due to the fact that they are perceived as one-sided documents that do not include the arrested person’s account of the incident. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and a criminal record?

Compared to an arrest record, a criminal record is a more thorough document that details an individual’s entire criminal history, including arrest warrants, arrests, third party complaints, convictions, and even dropped cases. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and an arrest warrant?

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that grants law enforcement the authority to arrest an individual suspected of a crime or to search and seize the individual’s property, whereas an arrest record is a document of an arrest that is only created after an arrest or apprehension has already occurred.  

In order for a judge or magistrate to issue an arrest warrant, they must conclude that there is probable cause for an arrest. Probable cause must be backed by sworn testimony or an affidavit that provides sufficient information supporting the need for an arrest. An arrest warrant must also specify one individual that should be arrested, rather than a group of individuals or a rough description of a suspect. 

How many Americans have been arrested?

While crime has steadily dropped in the United States over the past several decades, arrests have gone up, particularly for younger age groups. Typically, law enforcement makes around 10 million arrests each year. Here are some key statistics on arrests in the United States:

  • In 2018, around 10.3 million arrests were made nationwide.
  • 73% of arrested persons in 2018 were males.
  • The more recent an American was born, the greater the likelihood that the individual has been arrested at least once. The following is the percentage of Americans in various age groups that have been arrested: 
    • 6.4% of Americans born before 1949
    • 10.7% of Americans born between 1949 and 1958
    • 13.8% of Americans born between 1959 and 1968
    • 18.7% of Americans born between 1969 and 1978
    • 23% of Americans born between 1979-1988

Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, RAND Corporation

How to search for Arrest Records in West Virginia

West Virginia does not have an online criminal history information search tool available to the general public. Furthermore, you cannot go to the West Virginia State Police Headquarters and request a criminal background check without an appointment. 

In order to obtain a criminal record check in the state, you must schedule an appointment with third-party company IdentoGO to have your fingerprints scanned and submitted to the West Virginia State Police. After the scan is complete, you will receive further information on when to expect the results of the criminal background check. 

Unlike in many other states, fingerprinting cannot be done at a local law enforcement agency, and all West Virginia background check requests must go through IdentoGO.

Here’s how to schedule an appointment with IdentiGO:

  1. Visit the IdentoGO website.
  2. Select Services from the dropdown menu in the right-hand corner.
  3. Type in your zip code or city name under Find an IdentoGO Center
  4. Schedule an appointment at a convenient time. 

How can I search for a West Virginia arrest record on the internet using a background check service?

Since tracking down physical copies of arrest records can prove challenging, searching for them online is a viable option. There is a wealth of online services that allow you to search and access West Virginia arrest records and other public records via numerous government agency databases in exchange for a fee. 

However, despite the fact that users must pay to obtain an arrest record from an online service, it’s nevertheless a convenient means of getting these documents. The offices of government agencies are often marred by inconsistent service and take a long time to process requests to view documents. 

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a fee to use an online background check service, rather than endure the extended delays typical of government offices.  

What can I do if my arrest record has a mistake?

If your West Virginia arrest record or criminal history record has incorrect or incomplete information, the West Virginia State Police allows you to submit a challenge in order to have the record corrected.

Follow these steps to submit a challenge:

  1. Highlight the mistake on a copy of your criminal record or arrest record.
  2. Download and print a Challenge of Criminal History Record form.
  3. Complete and sign the form. 
  4. Prepare a cashier’s check or money order for $20 payable to “The Superintendent, West Virginia State Police”.
  5. Mail the completed form, payment, and a copy of the record with the error to:

West Virginia State Police

Criminal History Section

701 Jefferson Road

South Charleston, WV 25309

West Virginia Courthouse and Sheriff Information by County

CountyCourthouseAddressPhoneSheriffAddressPhone
Barbour CountyBarbour County Courthouse26 N Main St
Philippi, WV 26416
304-457-4339Barbour County Sheriff's Office8 N Main St #1
Philippi, WV 26416
304-457-2352
Berkeley CountyBerkeley County Magistrate Court380 W South St # 3100
Martinsburg, WV 25401
304-264-1956Berkeley County Sheriff's Office510 S. Raleigh Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401
304-267-7000
Boone CountyBoone County Courthouse200 State St
Madison, WV 25130
304-369-7331Boone County Sheriff206 Court St #101
Madison, WV 25130
304-369-7340
Braxton CountyBraxton County Courthouse300 Main Street
Sutton, WV 26601
304-765-2807Braxton County Sheriff505 Main St
Sutton, WV 26601
304-765-5122
Brooke CountyBrooke County Courthouse632 Main St
Wellsburg, WV 26070
304-737-3661Brooke County Sheriff's Office632 Main St #3
Wellsburg, WV 26070
304-527-1430
Cabell CountyCabell County Circuit Judge750 5th Ave STE 202
Huntington, WV 25701
304-526-8622Cabell County Sheriff's Office2726 Howell's Mill Rd
Ona, WV 25545
304-743-1594
Calhoun CountyCalhoun County Circuit Court363 Main St #205
Grantsville, WV 26147
304-354-6743Calhoun County Sheriff's Department363 Main Street, Suite 204
Grantsville, WV 26147
304-354-6333
Clay CountyClay County Courthouse225 Main St
Clay, WV 25043
304-587-2131Clay County Sheriff246 Main St
Clay, WV 25043
304-587-4260
Doddridge CountyDoddridge County Circuit Court118 Court St #104
West Union, WV 26456
304-873-2331Doddridge County Sheriff135 Court St
West Union, WV 26456
304-873-1944
Fayette CountyFayette County Court House100 N Court St
Fayetteville, WV 25840
304-574-1200Fayette County Sheriff's Department100 Church St
Fayetteville, WV 25840
304-574-4216
Gilmer CountyGilmer County Magistrate Clerk201 N Court St #102
Glenville, WV 26351
304-462-7812Gilmer County Sheriff10 Howard St # 102
Glenville, WV 26351
304-462-7441
Grant CountyGrant County Magistrate Ct4 N Main St
Petersburg, WV 26847
304-257-1289Grant County Sheriffs Office5 Highland Ave
Petersburg, WV 26847
304-257-1818
Greenbrier CountyGreenbrier County Courthouse912 N Court St
Lewisburg, WV 24901
304-647-6689Greenbrier County Sheriff206 N Court St
Lewisburg, WV 24901
304-647-6634
Hampshire CountyHampshire County Courthouse18 E Main St
Romney, WV 26757
304-822-5112Hampshire County Sheriff66 N High St # 2
Romney, WV 26757
304-822-3894
Hancock CountyHancock County Court House102 N Court St
New Cumberland, WV 26047
304-564-3311Hancock County Sheriff104 N Court St
New Cumberland, WV 26047
304-564-4068
Hardy CountyHardy County Magistrate Clerk204 Washington St # 111
Moorefield, WV 26836
304-530-0210Hardy County Sheriffs Office204 Washington St #119
Moorefield, WV 26836
304-530-0222
Harrison CountyHarrison County Court House301 W Main St
Clarksburg, WV 26301
304-624-8500Harrison County Sheriff301 W Main St # G25
Clarksburg, WV 26301
304-624-8550
Jackson CountyJackson County Courthouse100 N Ct St
Ripley, WV 25271
304-373-2220Jackson County Sheriff's Office98 Maple St
Ripley, WV 25271
304-373-2290
Jefferson CountyJefferson County Courthouse100 E Washington St
Charles Town, WV 25414
304-728-3231Jefferson County Sheriff Office102 Industrial Blvd #100
Kearneysville, WV 25430
304-728-3205
Kanawha CountyKanawha County Courthouse409 Virginia St E
Charleston, WV 25301
304-357-0100Kanawha County Sheriff's Office301 Virginia St E
Charleston, WV 25301
304-357-0200
Lewis CountyLewis County Courthouse110 Center Ave
Weston, WV 26452
304-269-8215Lewis County Sheriff's Office117 Court Avenue
Weston, WV 26452
304-269-8251
Lincoln CountyLincoln County Courthouse8000 Court Ave
Hamlin, WV 25523
304-824-7990Lincoln County Sheriff’sPO Box 467
Hamlin, WV 25523
(304) 824-7990 Ext. 227, 232, or 262
Logan CountyLogan County Courthouse300 Stratton Street
Logan, WV 25601
304-792-8550County Sheriff's Department300 Stratton St # 209
Logan, WV 25601
304-792-8590
Marion CountyMarion County Courthouse219 Adams St
Fairmont, WV 26554
304-367-5440Marion County Sheriff's Department316 Monroe St
Fairmont, WV 26554
304-367-5300
Marshall CountyMarshall Clerk-Circuit Court600 7th St #127
Moundsville, WV 26041
304-845-2130Marshall County Sheriff700 7th St
Moundsville, WV 26041
304-843-1500
Mason CountyMason County Magistrate Court200 6th St
Point Pleasant, WV 25550
304-675-6840Mason County Sheriff200 6th St
Point Pleasant, WV 25550
304-675-3838
McDowell CountyMc Dowell County Magistrate105 Wyoming St, Welch, WV 24801304-436-8587Mc Dowell County Sheriff90 Wyoming St # 117
Welch, WV 24801
304-436-8522
Mercer CountyMercer County Courthouse1501 W Main St #111
Princeton, WV 24740
304-487-8308Mercer County Sheriff's Department1501 W Main St
Princeton, WV 24740
304-487-8364
Mineral CountyMineral County Court House150 Armstrong St
Keyser, WV 26726
304-788-1562Mineral County Sheriff's Department100 E St
Keyser, WV 26726
304-788-0441
Mingo CountyMingo County Court House75 E 2nd Ave
Williamson, WV 25661
304-235-0376Mingo County Sheriff's Department72 E 2nd Ave
Williamson, WV 25661
304-235-0300
Monongalia CountyMonongalia County Magistrate75 High St
Morgantown, WV 26505
304-291-7296Monongalia County Sheriff's Office116 Walnut St
Morgantown, WV 26505
304-291-7260
Monroe CountyMonroe County Courthouse350 S Main St
Union, WV 24983
304-772-3018Monroe County Sheriffs' Office350 S Main St
Union, WV 24983
304-772-3018
Morgan CountyMorgan County Courthouse77 Fairfax St
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
(304)258-8540Morgan County Sheriff's Department77 Fairfax St #104
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
304-258-1067
Nicholas CountyNicholas County Magistrate511 Church St # 103
Summersville, WV 26651
304-872-7850Nicholas County Sheriff-Law700 Main St Suite 3
Summersville, WV 26651
304-872-7842
Ohio CountyOhio County Courthouse1500 Chapline St
Wheeling, WV 26003
304-234-3621Ohio County Sheriff Office51 16th St
Wheeling, WV 26003
304-234-3680
Pendleton CountyPendleton County Magistrate100 S Main St
Franklin, WV 26807
304-358-2343Pendleton County Sheriff100 S Main St
Franklin, WV 26807
304-358-2214
Pleasants CountyPleasants County Magistrate301 Court Ln
St Marys, WV 26170
304-684-7882Pleasants County Sheriff305 Barkwill St
St Marys, WV 26170
304-684-2285
Pocahontas CountyPocahontas County Court Info900 10th Ave D
Marlinton, WV 24954
304-799-6407Pocahontas County Law Enfrcmnt900 10th Ave
Marlinton, WV 24954
304-799-4445
Preston CountyPreston County Magistrate Court101 W Main St #201
Kingwood, WV 26537
304-329-2762Preston County Sheriff103 W Main St
Kingwood, WV 26537
304-329-1611
Putnam CountyPutnam County Judicial Building12093 Winfield Road
Winfield, WV 25213
304-586-0230Putnam County Sheriff's Department236 Courthouse Drive Suite 8
Winfield, WV 25213
304-586-0256
Raleigh CountyRaleigh County Courthouse222 Main St
Beckley, WV 25801
304-255-9100Raleigh County Sheriff's Department201 S Eisenhower Dr
Beckley, WV 25801
304-255-9300
Randolph CountyRandolph Magistrate Clerk11 Randolph Ave
Elkins, WV 26241
304-636-5885Randolph County Sheriff4 Randolph Ave
Elkins, WV 26241
304-636-2100
Ritchie CountyRitchie County Courthouse115 E Main St
Harrisville, WV 26362
304-643-2164Ritchie County Sheriff Department109 North Street
Harrisville, WV 26362
304-643-2262
Roane CountyRoane County Circuit Judge200 Main St #5
Spencer, WV 25276
304-927-2372Sheriff's Office200 Main St
Spencer, WV 25276
304-927-2540
Summers CountySummers County Court120 Ballengee St
Hinton, WV 25951
304-466-7100Summers County Sheriff Department123 Temple St
Hinton, WV 25951
304-466-7111
Taylor CountyTaylor County Courthouse214 W Main St #101
Grafton, WV 26354
304-265-1401Taylor County Sheriff Office214 W Main St
Grafton, WV 26354
304-265-3428
Tucker CountyTucker County Courthouse211 1st St
Parsons, WV 26287
304-478-2866Tucker County Sheriff's Department215 1st St
Parsons, WV 26287
304-478-2321
Tyler CountyTyler County Magistrate225 Main St
Middlebourne, WV 26149
304-758-2136Tyler County Sheriff's Department121 Court St
Middlebourne, WV 26149
304-758-4551
Upshur CountyUpshur County Courthouse40 W Main St
Buckhannon, WV 26201
304-472-5556Upshur Sheriff's Office38 W Main St
Buckhannon, WV 26201
304-472-1182
Wayne CountyWayne County Courthouse707 Hendricks, S Court St
Wayne, WV 25570
304-272-6350Wayne County Sheriff's Office700 Hendricks St
Wayne, WV 25570
304-272-6378
Webster CountyWebster County Courthouse2 Court Square
Webster Springs, WV 26288
304-847-5062Webster County Sheriff#G3, 2 Court Square
Webster Springs, WV 26288
304-847-2006
Wetzel CountyWetzel County Magistrate Clerk303 N Main St
New Martinsville, WV 26155
304-455-5171Wetzel County Sheriffs Office200 Main St
New Martinsville, WV 26155
304-455-2430
Wirt CountyWirt County Magistrates1 Court Sq
Elizabeth, WV 26143
304-275-3641Wirt County Sheriff15 Court St
Elizabeth, WV 26143
304-275-4222
Wood CountyWood County Courthouse1 Court Square
Parkersburg, WV 26101
304-424-1976Wood County Justice Center401 2nd St
Parkersburg, WV 26101
304-424-1834
Wyoming CountyWyoming County Courthouse24 Cedar Ave
Pineville, WV 24874
304-732-8000Wyoming County Sheriffs Office911 Cedar Street
Pineville, WV 24874
304-732-8000

 

If you’re worried that someone you know or love has a criminal record and maybe hiding it from you, run a quick background check online with ArrestRecords.com. Thanks to public records laws, almost all West Virginia arrests, criminal and civil records are available online, as well as comprehensive background checks and secret data. You can even find West Virginia marriage records, secret divorce records as well as birth and death records.

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