How to Obtain Court Records in State of West Virginia?
In West Virginia, most court records are considered public records. So as per the Freedom of Information Act, as a citizen, you have the right to gain access to these West Virginia court records. The State started creating public records right from 1917 and these West Virginia state court records are a compilation of the records from all the 55 counties here. In keeping with fairness and transparency, as per the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act, all citizens will be allowed to preview and examine the required court records.
In addition to this, citizens are also allowed to gain copies of West Virginia court records if they so desire. These copies, however, are given at a fee, but as per law, the courts are required to keep the fee affordable to the common citizen. The state of West Virginia has taken up the digitization of these records for the past 30 years. This has made it even easier for citizens to gain access to court records. West Virginia state court records can be accessed via government sites of third party sites that have an index of these records.
You can refer to the West Virginia state records website to access court records, criminal records, state background checks, vital records as well as more than 15 million other public records in West Virginia.
How to get court records in West Virginia
Records of criminal and civil cases are kept by the circuit court of the county in which the court proceedings were held. If you want court records of federal cases, you will have to approach the federal courthouse that handled the particular case. If you are wondering how to get court records in West Virginia, then you have two options. You can either retrieve the court records in person by visiting the courthouse, or you can access the West Virginia court records online.
Off limit records
While conducting a West Virginia court records search either in person or online, it is important to note that some records are off-limits. Just like most other states in the USA, there are some court documents that are not made available to the general public. Some records that are sealed by the state include juvenile court records, domestic relations records, child custody details, adoption records, mental illness records and so on. There are only certain cases in which these sealed records are made available. Only the final order and the court’s judgment are available as public records.
Records from the local courthouse
Local courthouses in West Virginia have records on common cases that involve child support and custody, divorce, civil lawsuits, criminal cases, adoptions and so on. The cases are recorded at the county courthouse where the hearing took place. If you need the court records for legal matters and not just in inspect it, you will have to contact the circuit court which holds the records. You will be instructed how to submit a request to obtain the court records.
Federal court records online
For records of cases presided over by the appellate, federal district or bankruptcy courts, you need to conduct a search online. All these records are available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records database. You will have to create an account for free, and charges will be applicable when you request a copy of any court records.
Besides government offices and websites, you can also turn to third party providers to get West Virginia court records. Third-party providers include local paralegals and legal couriers. These records can be accessed at a fee. A site called PeopleSmart, will send a person to the courthouse and get the records for you.