What is a background check?
A background check is an investigation into an individual’s criminal record, employment history, driving record, education, finances, or other aspects of their personal history.
Background checks are often performed by an organization or company in order to screen a subject before a significant financial or legal agreement. However, individuals regularly perform background checks on themselves to make sure that the public information on them matches their personal records.
For more general information on background checks, consult our Background Checks FAQS page.
How do I run a criminal background check 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 be submitted through IdentoGO.
Here’s how to schedule an appointment with IdentiGO:
- Visit the IdentoGO website.
- Select Services from the dropdown menu in the right-hand corner.
- Type in your zip code or city name under Find an IdentoGO Center.
- Schedule an appointment at a convenient time.
What can I do if my West Virginia criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?
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:
- Highlight the mistake on a copy of your criminal record or arrest record.
- Download and print a Challenge of Criminal History Record form.
- Complete and sign the form.
- Prepare a cashier’s check or money order for $20 payable to “The Superintendent, West Virginia State Police”.
- 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
How do I search for West Virginia court records online?
West Virginia court records can be found using the “Site Search” tool on the West Virginia Judiciary website. Just type in a name or case number and relevant case files and court opinions will come up in the results. The Site Search is not as organized or effective as the court records searches provided by other state judiciaries, yet it does yield results.
If you can’t find the court record you are looking for using the Site Search, your best option is to contact the court clerk in the county where the case originated directly and make a request to view the record.
The Court Information by County page on the West Virginia Judiciary website allows you to look up the detailed contact information of every court in the state. Simply call the court clerk of a specific court and ask them their policy on court record requests.
Where can I find West Virginia driving records online?
West Virginia driving records can be ordered online through West Virginia DMV Online Services.
Visit the page and enter the following information to request your driving record:
- Driver’s license number
- Last name
- First name, Middle Name
- Date of birth
- Last 4 digits of your social security number
In addition to ordering a driving record online, there are two other options:
- Visit any DMV branch office, present valid identification, make an in-person request.
- Send a completed Driving Record Request Form, the appropriate payment in check or money order, and a copy of a driver’s license or photo ID to West Virginia DMV Headquarters (address included on the form). This is the only way to request the driving record of another person and you must have signed consent to do so.
How do I obtain West Virginia vital records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?
Vital records are records of important life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that are kept by government agencies and accessible upon request.
Vital records are not public records that can be viewed by anyone, but the subject(s) of the record and authorized family members can view them in-person or order copies through a number of means. Additionally, one or more vital records may be required to complete a background check.
The West Virginia Office of Vital Records enlists the services of the third-party vendor Vital Chek to enable individuals to order copies of vital records online. The government-endorsed service offers vital records from 50 U.S. states and territories.
Available vital records include:
- birth certificates
- death certificates
- marriage records
- divorce records
Click here to place an order with Vital Chek.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Office of Vital Records at [email protected] or 304-558-2931.
How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in West Virginia?
Those convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in West Virginia are required by law to register as sex offenders. Additionally, offenders in the registry are required to notify law enforcement as soon as possible in the case of a physical address change or email address change, or they will be labeled “non-compliant”.
The West Virginia State Police makes the West Virginia Sex Offender Registry available online to the general public in the interest of public safety. Users may search by name, city, area, or email address/internet name. However, certain low-risk offenders may not be viewable in the online database.
Click here to perform a search of the West Virginia Sex Offender Registry. It’s important to stay informed about potential threats in your neighborhood in order to take the necessary precautions.
How do I perform a credit history background check in West Virginia?
Performing a credit check in West Virginia follows the same process as in other states. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants every American one free annual credit report each from the three main U.S. credit bureaus:
In order to obtain your free credit report from one of these three bureaus, you must provide the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social security number