West Virginia Background Check: Search Criminal Files (Obey 2023 Laws)

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Background Checks | July 28, 2023

West Virginia background check document on the right with a man looking it over wondering how do I get a background check in west Virginia and do a criminal history records check west Virginia, a west Virginia fingerprint background check document, and a WV cares background check application form with a blue magnifying glass searching the state of West Virginia outline.

Free West Virginia Background Check
West Virginia background check searches state criminal records, background history, court documents, and public records in West Virginia cities and counties.

Performing a West Virginia background check can be tricky because, with a background check, West Virginia may differ in some respects from other states.

Because the legal code is constantly being updated, revised and altered, there are a number of pitfalls to avoid in order to prevent costly fines and punishments. This means that to remain compliant and obey 2023 laws in WV, there’s a specific method to use when searching criminal files and garnering other public records.

The most important stipulation is that when a background check is conducted for any professional reason, the person being checked must provide written consent.

However, if a free criminal background check report is being performed for personal reasons, consent isn’t required.

This article provides comprehensive information in all relevant areas concerning background checks in accordance with West Virginia’s laws in 2023.

Free Background Check: West Virginia Info and Public Records

When inquiring about how to get a background check or seeking to obtain a background report on yourself or another person, the cost and accuracy of the records are key considerations.

The good news is that many public and state records in West Virginia can be obtained at no cost online or through local resources. Some online websites will also do name-based checks for a free criminal background check, though there is always a risk of incompleteness or inaccuracy with a free service, so it is often better to choose a free trial background check.6

Search West Virginia Public Records Using County Clerks

To find general public records and personal information about a specific individual, a great resource is the county clerk. The county clerk can provide a variety of information on people of interest, including vital records and public records, such as:

Follow this step-by-step process to find public records of interest.

Step 1: Specify the county of interest and enter “West Virginia (county name) county clerk” in any browser.

For example, when seeking public records from Mineral County, WV, enter “West Virginia Mineral County county clerk.”

Step 2: Identify the official website for the county clerk and follow the link.

Mineral County’s official website is the first search option to appear.10

Step 3: Locate the menu options on the clerk’s website and find and select “Records.”

On Mineral County’s site, there is a top menu with five options listed. “Records” is the fourth option and has a drop-down menu.

Step 4: Choose the type of record search desired.

For the example county, the drop-down menu includes the options “Vital Records Search” or “Records Search.”

Step 5: Type in the date range of interest as well as the first and last name of the person of interest in the database and hit “Enter.”

Mineral County’s website reroutes to a search index where specific information can be entered. Other counties redirect to similar databases.

This search should populate all relevant public records for the individual subject of the search.

Find West Virginia Arrests, Warrants, Convictions

Though public criminal records are included in official background checks, finding comprehensive and accurate criminal records outside of this route can be a bit trickier.6

The most direct avenue is to contact the agency responsible for the arrest and the state or county courts associated with the arrest, warrant, or conviction. Some arrest records may be available online, but this is not guaranteed.6

To obtain information from the county court systems, follow these steps:

Step 1: Visit the West Virginia Judiciary website.

Step 2: Use the Site Search function at the top of the page to search for a specific record.

West Virginia Judiciary screenshot with yellow arrow pointing to search feature for how to do a background check, West Virginia criminal records search.

For example, if searching for “Jim Smith’s” criminal record in Kanawha county, enter “Jim Smith Kanawha county criminal record.” This will generate available information from the WV Supreme Court, which must then be sifted through for relevance.

OR for the most complete results:

Step 2: Find “Public Resources” listed in the top menu.

Step 3: Select the first option under “Public Resources”: “Court Information by County”

Step 4: Select the desired county from the map of West Virginia and click on it.

The county of Kanawha is centrally located in West Virginia.

WV Judiciary map county selection for criminal history records check west virginia and free background check wv

Step 5: Locate the name and contact information of the county court clerk.

Cathy S. Gatson, Kanawha County Court Clerk
Kanawha County Judicial Building
P.O. Box 2351
111 Court Street
Charleston, WV 25301
(304) 357 – 0440
M-F 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
[email protected]

Judiciary WV screenshot with yellow arrow pointing to county clerk for finding free public records west virginia and wv background check

Step 6: Visit or contact the County Clerk’s office during business hours to initiate a record request.

To obtain information from the state court system, follow these steps:

Step 1: Visit the West Virginia Judiciary website.

Step 2: Find “Supreme Court” listed in the top menu.

Step 3: Scan options under “Supreme Court” to find “Clerk’s Office” and click.

The link routes to West Virginia’s Clerk of Court and contact information:

Edythe Nash Gaiser, Clerk of Court
State Capitol Rm E-317
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston WV 25305
(304) 558-2601

Step 4: Scroll down to the section heading “Obtaining copies of papers filed” and click the hyperlink to “calendar page.”

The calendar page allows viewing of the court calendar and docket. There is no system for searching cases by name, but prior months’ dockets and current dockets can be viewed.

Step 5: For access to additional records, visit the Clerk’s office during business hours (8:30 am – 5:00 pm M-F) to process a request.

Charges for copies range from 25 cents per page for pending cases to $1 per page for closed cases. Emailed or faxed copies cost $1 to $5 per page.

Note that a search can also be conducted from the initial West Virginia Judiciary website by typing information into the “Site Search” bar at the top of the page. This may generate some relevant records as well.

Free Criminal Background Check: Criminal History Records Check West Virginia

An official West Virginia background check performed at the request of an employing agency is not free of charge and requires a consent form signed by the individual in question.6 However, there are online databases that can be used to obtain criminal records in West Virginia. Some of these databases allow search by county, case number, case name, and case status, though the results are not official or necessarily comprehensive.13

Criminal records can also be searched and accessed through local law enforcement agencies such as the state police department or county sheriff’s office.

To search for criminal records at the state level, follow these steps:

Step 1: Search “West Virginia State Police” in any browser and follow the first link to access the official website of the West Virginia State Police.

Step 2: Scan the top menu for “Criminal Records” and click the link.

West Virginia State police website screenshot with yellow arrow pointing to criminal records for getting west virginia state police background check

Step 3: Note the “Criminal Records” contact number (304) 746-2450 and call to request specific records.

To search for criminal records at the county level, follow these steps:

Step 1: Search “West Virginia (County Name) Sheriff’s Office.”

For example, if interested in records from Boone County, type in “West Virginia Boone County Sheriff’s Office.”

Step 2: Click the link to navigate to the official website.

On the Boone County Sheriff’s website, there are links to search the WV State Police Sex Offender Registry and also to search regional jails and prisons for incarcerated individuals.3

Step 3: Note the contact information for the Sheriff’s Office and call to process a criminal record request.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Office lists all contact information on the left-hand side of the page.3

Boone County Sheriff Chad Barker
206 Court St., Ste. 200
Madison, WV 25130
[email protected]
(304) 369-7340
M-F 8:00 – 4:00 PM

How to Get a West Virginia State Police Background Check (West Virginia Fingerprint Background Check)

For an official West Virginia background check, a fingerprinting system is utilized. West Virginia uses a third-party service to obtain and process digital fingerprints.9 To fulfill the fingerprinting process for an official employment fingerprint background check West Virginia follows these steps:

Step 1: Using any web browser, navigate to the IdentoGo website.9

Step 2: Select the “Get Fingerprinted” option at the top of the page.

IdentGo screenshot with yellow arrow pointing to get fingerprints for west virginia fingerprint background check

Step 3: Under “Select a Fingerprinting Service by State,” find West Virginia in the drop-down box, and click “Go.”

Step 4: Scroll down under “Enrollment Services” and select “Digital Fingerprinting.”

Step 5: Enter the “Service Code” supplied by the employing agency to continue.

A service code is typically received from the employing agency via email.

Step 6: Select “Appointment” and complete the various information sections to set up the appointment.

Step 7: Bring the specified identifying document to the appointment and make payment to IdentoGo directly on location.

When seeking a personal background check in West Virginia, there won’t be a service code to get started, so follow these steps instead:

Step 1: Using any web browser, navigate the enrollment portal on the IdentoGo website.9

Step 2: Scroll down to the bottom of the web page and select “State History Check.”

Note that there is also an “FBI History Check” available.

Step 3: From the drop-down menu, select “West Virginia – Personal Record Check” and click “Submit.”

Step 4: Select “Schedule an Appointment” from the menu options available

Step 5: Complete the enrollment form with all required personal information, selecting “Next” to progress through the pages.

Step 6: Select the date and time for an appointment.

Step 7: Bring the specified identifying document to the appointment and make payment to IdentoGo directly on location.

To search criminal files directly in accordance with 2023 West Virginia Laws, contacting county clerk’s offices and sheriff’s offices may be an excellent avenue. Refer to the sections above for what type of information can be gathered from each agency and the table below for information by county.

Background Check West Virginia County Public recordsCounty ClerkCounty Court ClerkSheriff’s Department
Find Barbour County Public RecordsBarbour County Clerk Connie KaufmanBarbour County Court Clerk 

Gerald M. Fogg

Barbour County Sheriff 

Brett Carpenter

Find Berkeley County Public RecordsBerkeley County Clerk 

Elaine C. Mauck

Berkeley County Court Clerk 

Carol Miller

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office

510 S Raleigh St.
Martinsburg, WV 25401

(304) 267-7000

Find Boone County Public RecordsBoone County Clerk 

Roger D. Toney

Boone County Court Clerk 

Samuel R. Burns

Boone County Sheriff 

Chad Barker

Find Braxton County Public RecordsBraxton County Clerk 

Sue Ann Rutherford

Braxton County Court Clerk 

Susan Lemon

Braxton County Sheriff 

Louis Dellamea

Find Brooke County Public RecordsBrooke County Clerk 

Kimberly M. Barbetta

Brooke County Court Clerk 

Glenda Brooks

Brooke County Sheriff 

Richard Beatty, Jr.

Find Cabell County Public RecordsCabell County ClerkCabell County Court Clerk

Michael J. Woelfel

Cabell County Sheriff’s Office

750 5th Avenue

Huntington, WV 25701

(304) 526-8672

Find Calhoun County Public RecordsCalhoun County Clerk
Jean Simers
Calhoun County Court Clerk 

Sheila Garretson

Calhoun County Sheriff 

Warren Basnett

Find Clay County Public RecordsClay County Clerk Connie WorkmanClay County Court Clerk 

Mike Asbury

Clay County Sheriff Donald J. Triplett Jr.
Find Doddridge County Public RecordsDoddridge County Clerk 

Lorena “Catee” Slater

Doddridge County Court Clerk 

Michele Britton

Doddridge County Sheriff 

Clinton Boring

Find Fayette County Public RecordsFayette County Clerk Michelle HollyFayette County Court Clerk 

Deborah Hendrick

Fayette County Sheriff’s Department
P.O. Box 509
100 Church Street
Fayetteville, WV 25840(304) 574-4304
Find Gilmer County Public RecordsGilmer County Clerk Jean ButcherGilmer County Court Clerk 

Pam Starsick

Gilmer County Sheriff John Moss
Find Grant County Public RecordsGrant County Clerk 

Seymoure “Bud” Fisher

Grant County Court Clerk 

Angela B. VanMeter

Grant County Sheriff 

Brian Ours

Find Greenbrier County Public RecordsGreenbrier County ClerkGreenbrier County Court Clerk Louvonne ArbuckleGreenbrier County Sheriff’s Office
Find Hampshire County Public RecordsHampshire County Clerk 

Eric W. Strite

Hampshire County Court Clerk 

Sonja Embrey

Hampshire County Sheriff 

Nathan J. Sions

Find Hancock County Public RecordsHancock County Clerk 

George Foley

Hancock County Court Clerk 

Sandra J. Casto

Hancock County Sheriff 

Scott Gittings

Find Hardy County Public RecordsHardy County Clerk 

Gregory L. Ely

Hardy County Court Clerk 

Kelly J. Shockey

Hardy County Sheriff 

Steven R. Dawson

Find Harrison County Public RecordsHarrison County Clerk 

John Spires

Harrison County Court Clerk 

Albert Marano

Harrison County Sheriff 

Robert Matheny

Find Jackson County Public RecordsJackson County Clerk 

Cheryl Bright

Jackson County Court Clerk 

Bruce DeWeese

Jackson County Sheriff 

Tony Boggs

Find Jefferson County Public RecordsJefferson County Clerk 

Jacqueline C. Shadle

Jefferson County Court Clerk 

Laura E. Storm

Jefferson County Sheriff 

Thomas H. Hansen

Find Kanawha County Public RecordsKanawha County Clerk 

Vera J. McCormick

Kanawha County Court Clerk 

Cathy S. Gatson

Kanawha County Sheriff 

Mike Rutherford

Find Lewis County Public RecordsLewis County Clerk 

Cynthia S. Rowan

Lewis County Court Clerk 

Beth Burkhart

Lewis County Sheriff 

David B. Gosa

Find Lincoln County Public RecordsLincoln County Clerk 

Direl Baker

Lincoln County Court Clerk 

Charles Brumfield

Lincoln County Sheriff 

Gary Linville

Find Logan County Public RecordsLogan County Clerk 

John A. Turner

Logan County Court Clerk 

Mark McGrew

Logan County Sheriff 

Sonya M. Dingess Porter

Find Marion County Public RecordsMarion County ClerkMarion County Court Clerk 

Rhonda Starn

Marion County Sheriff 

Jimmy Riffle

Find Marshall County Public RecordsMarshall County ClerkMarshall County Court Clerk 

Joe Rucki

Marshall County Sheriff 

William Helms Jr.

Find Mason County Public RecordsMason County Clerk 

Diana Cromley

Mason County Court Clerk 

Elizabeth Jones

Mason County Sheriff 

Corey Miller

Find McDowell County Public RecordsMcDowell County ClerkMcDowell County Court Clerk 

Francine Spencer

Sheriff Martin West

90 Wyoming St. Suite 117

Welch, WV 24801

(304) 436-8526

Find Mercer County Public RecordsMercer County Clerk 

Verlin Moye

Mercer County Court Clerk 

Julie Ball

Mercer County Sheriff 

Tommy Bailey

Find Mineral County Public RecordsMineral County Clerk 

Lauren Ellifritz

Mineral County Court Clerk 

Krista Johnson Dixon

Mineral County Sheriff 

Forrest “Buddy” Ellifritz

Find Mingo County Public RecordsMingo County Clerk

75 E. 2nd Avenue

Williamson, WV 25661

(304) 235-0320

Mingo County Court Clerk 

Lonnie Hannah

Mingo County Sheriff’s Dept.

72 E. 2nd Avenue

Williamson, WV 25661

(304) 235-0300

Find Monongalia County Public RecordsMonongalia County ClerkMonongalia County Court Clerk 

Jean Friend

Monongalia County Sheriff 

Perry Palmer

Find Monroe County Public RecordsMonroe County Clerk 

Donald J. Evans

Monroe County Court Clerk 

Leta Gullette-Comer

Monroe County Sheriff 

Jeffrey Jones

Find Morgan County Public RecordsMorgan County Clerk 

Kimberly Nickles

Morgan County Court Clerk 

Melanie Shambaugh

Morgan County Sheriff

K.C. Bohrer

Find Nicholas County Public RecordsNicholas County Clerk 

Robert Painter

Nicholas County Court Clerk

Debbie Facemire

Nicholas County Sheriff 

William F. Nunley

Find Ohio County Public RecordsOhio County ClerkOhio County Court Clerk 

Brenda L. Miller

Ohio County Sheriff 

Tom Howard

Find Pendleton County Public RecordsPendleton County Clerk 

Elise White

Pendleton County Court Clerk

Shalee Wilburn

Pendleton County Sheriff 

Chad Bowers

Find Pleasants County Public RecordsPleasants County Clerk 

Evelyn Davis

Pleasants County Court Clerk 

Millie Farnsworth

Pleasants County Sheriff 

Charles R. Mankins

Find Pocahontas County Public RecordsPocahontas County Clerk 

Melissa L. Bennett

Pocahontas County Court Clerk 

Connie Carr

Sheriff Dave Jonese

900A 10th Ave.

Marlinton, WV 24954

(304) 799-4710

Find Preston County Public RecordsPreston County Clerk 

Linda Huggins

Preston County Court Clerk 

Lisa Leishman

Preston County Sheriff 

Paul “Moe” Pritt

Find Putnam County Public RecordsPutnam County Clerk 

Brian Wood

Putnam County Court Clerk

William “JJ” Mullins

Puttnam County Sheriff’s Office
Find Raleigh County Public RecordsRaleigh County Clerk 

Daniel W. Moore

Raleigh County Court Clerk 

Paul Flanagan

Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office
Find Randolph County Public RecordsRandolph County Clerk 

Brenda D. Wiseman

Randolph County Court Clerk 

Phil Riggleman

Randolph County Sheriff 

Robert R. Elbon Jr.

Find Ritchie County Public RecordsRitchie County Clerk Tracie D. McDonaldRitchie County Court Clerk 

Rose Ellen Cox

Ritchie County Sheriff 

Terry Snodgrass

Find Roane County Public RecordsRoane County Clerk 

Charles B. White Jr.

Roane County Court Clerk

Andrea Stockner

Roane County Sheriff 

R. Brian Hickman

Find Summers County Public RecordsSummers County Clerk 

Mary Beth Merritt

Summers County Court Clerk  

Stacy D. Ford

Summers County Sheriff 

Justin L. Faris

Find Taylor County Public RecordsTaylor County Clerk 

Georgianna Thompson

Taylor County Court Clerk 

Vonda M. Reneman

Taylor County Sheriff 

Terry Austin

Find Tucker County Public RecordsTucker County Clerk 

Sherry Simmons

Tucker County Court Clerk 

Sharon Moats

Tucker County Sheriff

Brian Wilfong

Find Tyler County Public RecordsTyler County Clerk 

Neil A. Archer II

Tyler County Court Clerk

Candy L. Warner

Tyler County Sheriff 

Brian Weigle

Find Upshur County Public RecordsUpshur County Clerk 

Carol J. Smith

Upshur County Court Clerk

Brian P. Gaudet

Upshur County Sheriff 

Virgil D. Miller

Find Wayne County Public RecordsWayne County Clerk 

Renick Booth

Wayne County Court Clerk 

Regina K. Thompson

Wayne County Sheriff 

Rick Thompson

Find Webster County Public RecordsWebster County Clerk 

Eva R. Green

Webster County Court Clerk 

Keith Stout

Webster County Sheriff 

David Cutlip

Find Wetzel County Public RecordsWetzel County Clerk 

Carol S. Haught

Wetzel County Court Clerk 

Lori Wetzel McCoy

Wetzel County Sheriff 

Michael L. Koontz

Find Wirt County RecordsWirt County Clerk 

Marolyn Baldrige

Wirt County Court Clerk 

Carol Frame

Wirt County Sheriff 

Darrell Null

Find Wood County RecordsWood County Clerk 

Mark Rhodes

Wood County Court Clerk

Celeste Ridgway

Wood County Sheriff 

Rick Woodyard

Find Wyoming County RecordsWyoming County Clerk 

Jewell Aguilar

Wyoming County Court Clerk 

Michael Stover

Wyoming County Sheriff 

Bradley Ellison

West Virginia Inmate Lookup and Sex Offender Registry Screening: Free

The state of West Virginia has government sites that allow users to search for inmates and sex offenders. The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation permits the viewing of daily incarcerations by county or regional jails or prisons. The offender’s name, case number, and some identifying information may be viewable.

The West Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry allows search by individual’s name, location, or email address. A search can also be conducted by neighborhood. The registry search can be limited to “Wanted Offenders,” “Sexually Violent Predators,” or left unrestricted. The registry will generate information about the offender’s conviction and current location, as well as a mugshot.6

WV state police sex offender registry screenshot search tab for finding west virginia case search by name

West Virginia Pre Employment Background Check

When curious about a pre-employment background check what shows up, the first question that must be addressed is the type of background check being conducted. In West Virginia, name-based background checks are not conducted; fingerprint-based checks are the standard.

Individuals or agencies may request a background check on someone seeking employment, with the specified person’s signed consent.6 Some job positions require specific background checks to ensure suitability for a job role or with a designated population. Continue reading for some examples.

Background Check West Virginia Teachers and Education Background Check WV:

According to West Virginia Code §18A-3-10, any first-time applicant for licensure by the Department of Education must be fingerprinted by the State Police for state and federal criminal background checks. It is recommended that individuals use the IdentoGo website to submit digital fingerprints.9

The fingerprints are usually processed in 1-3 days and sent to the requesting agency. They are then analyzed and cross-checked with an abuse registry before being sent on to the FBI for a federal check. The applicant is responsible for the cost of fingerprinting and criminal record checks. Any information obtained from these analyses may be used as grounds for rejecting licensure.15

For individuals licensed outside of the state of West Virginia, the protocol for initial licensure must still be followed. However, if an individual is already employed in the West Virginia public school system, Form 4B must be obtained from the school system and an employer signature and character recommendation secured.15

Healthcare Background Check West Virginia Cares Background Check Status

Per West Virginia Code §16-492, it is illegal for public health departments, healthcare providers, and covered contractors to hire and engage an individual before the background check process is complete. The West Virginia Clearance for Access: Registry & Employment Screening (WV CARES) is a program regulated by West Virginia’s Department of Health & Human Resources and the WV State Police Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), using fingerprints to obtain criminal records at the state and federal level.11

west virginia cares background check screenshot which includes information about wv cares registry, wv cares application, wv cares contact, how long does a wv cares background check take, wv cares background check phone number, wv cares disqualifying offense

Only 25 states, including West Virginia, have an established comprehensive background check program for employees seeking work in vulnerable healthcare populations. WV CARES includes a registry check in addition to the fingerprint background check. The registry check includes a review of national abuse and sex offender registries, as well as the Nurse Aid Registry.11

West Virginia Child Care Background Check

West Virginia Code §16-49-1 was amended to add child care and foster care providers to the WV CARES registry. Therefore, individuals seeking employment in child care are subject to a West Virginia background check. Formerly, individuals were also subject to a required Protective Services Record Check,4 per Chapter 78 of the West Virginia Code, but this rule is temporarily suspended secondary to COVID-19.

West Virginia Administrative law screenshot for west virginia public records law.

Persons are required to complete the state fingerprint background check process outlined above using a service code provided by the hiring agency.

West Virginia DOT Record

Visit the West Virginia DMV website to obtain personal driving records. Driving records can be requested online, or in-person through a local DMV branch, by mail, or by email. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Submit required identifying information via DMV Online Services


Step 1: Complete the Driving Record Request Form on the DMV website.

Step 2: Locate your Driver’s License or state-issued photo or make a copy.

Note that processing fees apply without a copy of the Driver’s License or state-issued photo:

  • $7.50 processing fee when the name and license number only are provided
  • $8.50 processing fee when DOB or SSN is provided in place of license number

Step 3: Choose how to submit the DOT request

If submitting in person, bring the Driving Record Request Form and valid ID to the nearest regional DMV office.

If submitting by mail, mail the Driving Record Request Form and copy of valid ID to the mailing address below:

Driving Records Section
PO Box 17020
Charleston, WV 25317

Note: Be sure to include a return mailing address!

If submitting by email, email the Driving Record Request Form and copy of valid ID to [email protected]

WV Dot screenshot fo backgorund hceck form releasing drivers records.

When requesting another individual’s DOT record, the same process must be followed, but a Release Authorization Form must also be completed.

Background Check for Gun Purchase in West Virginia

In West Virginia, background checks and permits are not required to purchase a handgun from a private seller.5 However, federally licensed firearms dealers are required by federal law to conduct background checks on an individual before commencing the sale of a firearm.7

West Virginia Background Check Laws (West Virginia Public Records Law)

West Virginia Background Check Laws require the prescreening of relevant registries (abuse registry, sex offender registry, etc.) and a fingerprint-based background check for providers covered under the WV CARES act (West Virginia Code §16-49-1). West Virginia does not currently have any “ban the box” or fair hiring laws.8

According to West Virginia FOIA Laws §29B-1-3, all public records must be accessible to the public upon request. Individuals seeking to examine or make copies of specific public records should make direct requests to record custodians (e.g. clerks, court clerks, etc). There may be fees associated with record retrieval.

How Long Does a Background Check Take In West Virginia?

Individuals may wonder “How long does a fingerprint background check take?” Most background checks in West Virginia will produce a report in a few days. However, the process can take up to two weeks or more.2

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in West Virginia

Though West Virginia is not one of the states bound by 7-year state law, a 7-year lookback period is typical for most background checks.5

There is a specific process that must be followed to secure a West Virginia Background Check, so be sure to consult the resources and information in this article to search criminal files and obey 2023 laws in obtaining a background check, in West Virginia.

Frequently Asked Questions About West Virginia Background Check

How do I get a background check in West Virginia?

Official and personal West Virginia background checks are conducted by submitting digital fingerprints through the third-party website, IdentoGo, as outlined above.2 9

What shows up on a background check in West Virginia?

West Virginia does not restrict information on background check reports and only conducts fingerprint background checks, generating records of:2

  • Personal Identifying and Employment Information
  • Arrests, Charges, and Verdicts
  • Sex Offender Status

West Virginia does adhere to the mandates of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to protect individuals from being unfairly discriminated against.1

How long does a background check take in West Virginia?

Background Checks in West Virginia can take up to two weeks to render results, but most reports are available in a few days.2

Is West Virginia an open carry state?

West Virginia is a no-permit carry state, meaning that gun owners do not need a license for open carry, and furthermore, any U.S. resident who can legally own a gun can concealed carry said gun without a permit.14

How many years can an employer go back on a background check in West Virginia?

West Virginia typically abides by the FCRA’s seven-year rule, though employers are not bound by law to limit background checks to seven years.

What’s a 7-year background check West Virginia?

A 7-Year background check in West Virginia is the same thing as the standard fingerprint-based background check conducted by employers or authorized individuals.

Can I do a West Virginia case search by name?

Yes, an informal search through the Public Service Commission of West Virginia permits users to search through cases using case information such as case number, case name, case description, etc.13 Note that results generated via this route are not necessarily up-to-date or comprehensive.

How far back do background checks go in WV?

Most background checks in West Virginia will look back approximately seven years, per the FCRA.5

Where can I find free public records West Virginia? 

Free public records can be obtained by contacting the county clerk’s offices, as described above. Some websites also offer free searches of public record databases, though results will need to be examined for relevance, accuracy, and completeness.12 16

What is the WV cares registry?

WV CARES is an acronym for West Virginia Clearance for Access: Registry & Employment Screening. This program relies on new, web-based technologies to grant employers access to national abuse and sex offender registries, as well as Nurse Aide Registries and professional licensures across all 50 states. The use of fingerprinting gives access to state and federal criminal records beyond what is generated with a name-based search and also allows for monitoring changes in criminal records.11

What are the WV Cares Disqualifying offenses? 

The WV CARES rules clearly enumerate the offenses which disqualify an individual from employment with vulnerable populations.

  • Crimes related to health and social service programs
  • Neglect or abuse of patients
  • Fraud related to health care
  • Felony-level drug convictions
  • Crimes committed against vulnerable individuals
  • Felony-level crimes against another person
  • Felony-level crimes against property
  • Sexual offense convictions
  • Crimes against decency, morality, and chastity
  • Crimes against public justice
  • Felony-level driving convictions
  • Felony-level offenses against the peace
  • Fraud related to self-disclosure on a consent form

Any one of these offenses would disqualify someone from employment under the WV CARES rules.4

What’s the WV Cares background check phone number and WV Cares contact? 

To inquire about WV Cares background checks or address additional inquiries, contact the current deputy director:11

Cinthia Sea,
Deputy Director, WV Cares
(304) 558-2018


1AccuSource, Inc. (2022). West Virginia State Employment Laws. AccuSource. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://accusource-online.com/employment-background-check-laws-by-state/west-virginia-state-employment-screening-laws/>

2Background Hawk. (2022). West Virginia Background Check. Background Hawk. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://backgroundhawk.com/background-check/west-virginia/>

3Boone County Sheriff’s Office. (2022). Boone County, West Virginia. Boone County Sheriff’s Office. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <http://www.boonewvsheriff.org/>

4Bureau for Children and Families. (2022). Request an APS and CPS Background Check. West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/Providers/Pages/Request-an-APS-or-CPS-Background-Check.aspx>

5Caregiverlist, Inc. (2022). West Virginia Background Check Laws. caregiver list by Senior Care Industry Professionals. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://www.caregiverlist.com/west-virginia/backgroundcheck.aspx>

6Freebackgroundchecks.com. (2022). Background Check in West Virginia. FreeBackgroundChecks.com. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://freebackgroundchecks.com/states/west-virginia/>

7Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (2022). Background Check Procedures in West Virginia. Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://giffords.org/lawcenter/state-laws/background-check-procedures-in-west-virginia/>

8Hire Image Background Screening Specialists. (2022). State Laws in West Virginia. Hire Image Background Screening Specialists. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://www.hireimage.com/state-information-fees/west-virginia/>

9Idemia. (2022). IdentoGO. IdentoGO By Idemia. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://www.identogo.com/>

10Mineral County WV Clerk’s Office. (2022). Find Your Records Online! County Clerk – Records. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://www.mineralwv.org/county-clerk-records/>

11Office of Inspector General. (2015). WV CARES. West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://www.wvdhhr.org/oig/wvcares.html>

12PeopleConnect, Inc. (2022). West Virginia Free Public Records Directory. Online Searches. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://www.publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/west-virginia>

13Public Service Commission of West Virginia. (2022). Web Docket. Public Service Commission of West Virginia Web Docket. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <http://www.psc.state.wv.us/webdocket/>

14United States Concealed Carry Association. (2022). Summary of West Virginia Gun Laws. USCCA. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/resources/ccw_reciprocity_map/wv-gun-laws/#:~:text=West%20Virginia%20is%20a%20permitless,limits%2C%20including%20schools%20and%20courthouses>

15West Virginia Department of Education. (2022). First Time Application. West Virginia Department of Education. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://wvde.us/certification/certification-info/application-forms/first-time-application/>

16www.staterecords.org. (2022). West Virginia Public Records. State Records West Virginia. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from <https://westvirginia.staterecords.org/>

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