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Your Comprehensive Guide to West Virginia Public Records

West Virginia Public Records

Public records in West Virginia comprise a wide range of documents and information maintained by state and local government agencies, accessible to the public under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This Act, codified in West Virginia Code § 29B-1-1 et seq., establishes the right of every citizen to access most government records, with certain exceptions for privacy and security. To understand the specifics of the West Virginia FOIA, interested parties can visit the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

Are West Virginia Records Public?

Yes, records in West Virginia are public. The West Virginia Freedom of Information Act ensures that most government records are available for public inspection and copying, though there are exceptions to protect sensitive information. Additional information about this Act can be found on the West Virginia Attorney General's website.

What do West Virginia Public Records Include?

West Virginia public records include various types of documents and information:

  • Vital Records: Birth, death, marriage, and divorce records maintained by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. More details can be found at West Virginia Vital Records.
  • Property Records: Information on property ownership, assessments, and taxes, available through County Assessor's offices.
  • Criminal Records: Managed by the West Virginia State Police, offering criminal history and background checks. Visit West Virginia State Police Criminal Records.
  • Court Records: These include records from civil and criminal cases, accessible through the West Virginia Judiciary. Information can be found at West Virginia Judiciary.
  • Business Records: Business filings and registrations, overseen by the West Virginia Secretary of State. Detailed information is available at the West Virginia Secretary of State.

How to Find Public Records in West Virginia

To find public records in West Virginia, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the Record Type: Determine the specific type of record you need, such as a vital or property record.
  2. Locate the Responsible Agency: Different records are held by different agencies. For instance, vital records are available through the Department of Health and Human Resources.
  3. Submit a Records Request: Most agencies have a formal process for requesting records, usually available online, in person, or by mail.
  4. Follow the Agency's Guidelines: Adhere to the agency's specific requirements, including completing forms and providing necessary identification.
  5. Pay Any Required Fees: Some records may involve fees for processing or copying.
  6. Wait for Processing: There may be a processing period before the records are available.

For additional guidance, the West Virginia State Archives offers resources and assistance.

Lookup Public Records in West Virginia

Key departments in West Virginia related to Public Records include:

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