West Virginia Public Records: How to Find Public Records in West Virginia

West Virginia Public Records: How to Find Public Records in West Virginia

West Virginia public records comprise criminal, property, court, and vital records, among many others. They each provide unique information about a person who lives and has lived in the state. 

For instance, court records include information that lets you know if the person has a civil and criminal history. In contrast, criminal records show all data about the person's arrests, sentences, and convictions. West Virginia's open records laws determine the extent of accessibility of all public records in the state. 

The law covers every state agency or organization, including the judicial and legislative branches and other parastatals. But regardless, nothing is usually hidden from the general public. In this article, prepare to learn more about West Virginia public records and where you can access them. 

How can I access public records in West Virginia? 

The simple answer to this is through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You have a right to submit a request form to the specific agencies to maintain the records you seek. 


The legislation requires all government organizations to respond to all requests within five days.

For formality purposes, we advise you to always submit a written request in person to the relevant agencies to avoid issues with records delivery timing and method. 


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West Virginia provides some records online, while others are granted in person or by mail. 

Since every department has its unique process of giving access to public records, you may expect variations in response time and fees. 

What can I include in my public record search request? 

All public records requests to any agency must include your name, current contact details for delivery purposes, proof of identity, the actual name of the document, and every helpful information you know about the records. 

Also include a time range you prefer to receive the documents and your preferred delivery method, either through email, mail or in person. 

Types of Public Records in West Virginia

Here are the common types of West Virginia public records you can retrieve; 

West Virginia Criminal records

The term "criminal records" typically lists all misdemeanors and felonies a person has been charged with. Employers often access these records as part of a background check. 


Still, individuals seeking business partners, volunteers for charitable work, or domestic help such as babysitters may also request to see someone's criminal record. 

Furthermore, some professions, housing arrangements, licenses, and certifications require criminal background checks. In West Virginia, the state police is responsible for maintaining criminal records. 


These records contain information about a person's interactions with law enforcement and the court system. 

This information is collected from local police departments, criminal courts, and state prisons. 


A West Virginia criminal record typically includes details such as the person's date of birth, driver's license number, photograph or mugshot, fingerprints, current and past addresses, former arrest records, and current and past warrants.


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Where can I retrieve criminal records in West Virginia? 

The Criminal Identification Bureau, which operates under the West Virginia State Police, provides criminal background checks upon approval from the Superintendent. 

If you're interested, the West Virginia Health and Human Services Bureau of Children and Families conducts criminal background checks specifically for families, including caretakers, babysitters, adoptive parents, and other family cases. 

West Virginia Court Records

West Virginia Court records contain one of the most comprehensive information among the state's public records, and the West Virginia judicial system is a large and thoroughly efficient entity. 


These files are usually extensive, encompassing all documents about civil or criminal court cases from initiation to conclusion.

West Virginia court records comprise various documents, and their size can be significant. However, the following information, such as dockets, date of birth, name and aliases, DOC ID, sentence summary, and assigned location, are commonly found in these documents. 

Where precisely can I retrieve West Virginia court records? 

To locate court records in West Virginia, first, initiate a search by visiting the website of the West Virginia Judiciary Administrative Office of the Court. From there, you can identify the local or circuit courts that handled the case.

Note that there is no online court records database in West Virginia; requesters typically contact the court by phone or in-person to obtain access to court files. Go to the clerk's office or speak with the County Clerk to get court files.

Vital Records in Wisconsin

The West Virginia Health and Human Resources Department Vital Registration Office is responsible for maintaining vital records in the state. 


The state's vital records include birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce decrees. The process for submitting public records requests for vital records in West Virginia varies depending on the requested document.

For more inquiries, here's the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources contact information: 

Address: Vital Registration Office,
Room 165,
350 Capitol Street,
Charleston, WV 25301-3701
Phone number: 304-558-2931

What general information must I provide to request West Virginia public records? 

Here are the important details you need to provide when applying for a certified copy of a West Virginia vital record: 

● Full name of the record bearer 
● City, County where the event occurred 
● Date event occurred 
● Gender 
● $12 compulsory fee


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West Virginia Property and Asset Records

The responsibility of maintaining property records in West Virginia falls under the jurisdiction of the County Clerk's office. 


Property records available for public access across the counties include liens, land records, titles, property deeds, real estate information, mortgages, property tax assessment records, zoning information, probate, and voter registration.

For data, parcel, and land use maps, requesters can contact the Geographic Information System (GIS) to inquire about public access. 


To request access to property records in West Virginia, you must provide basic information such as the property's address or owner's name. 


The fees, forms, and office hours will vary depending on the County Clerk's office where the property record is maintained.

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