Rule 3 of the West Virginia Penal Code defines the complaint that has to be filed before a warrant hearing is held. This affidavit has to be sworn and affirmed to in front of the sitting magistrate of the county in which the offense occurred. Generally, the presentation is made by the prosecuting attorney or a law enforcement officer.
Through witness testimony and/or the accusatory instrument filed, the prosecution needs to show that there is enough reason to believe that the accused committed the offense that he is being charged of. The finding of probable cause makes the complaint a charging instrument and criminal proceedings are launched in response to this order.
Arrest warrants: The issuance of WV active warrants for arrests is entirely and solely based on the evidence presented in court in the form of witness testimony or the written complaint. While it can be based in part or wholly on hearsay evidence, it is imperative that this proof comes from a credible source for the magistrate to consider granting the arrest order. The warrant will include information on the offense, the offender , the date and place of order release, the decree directed at police officers and the name of the state, county where the warrant was issued and the office of the judicial officer who granted the warrant.
Summons: These are orders which are issued to command an accused to appear in court. These have the same form as a warrant. When a summons ought to be issued in place of a warrant is left at the discretion of the judge.
Bench warrants: Another type of arrest orders, these also have the same form as that of a standard warrant with the only difference that the release criteria may be given on the warrant. These orders are not based on probable cause as they are issued in response to the disobedience of a court verdict or when the accused does not show up court as ordered.
Search warrants: They are the closest legal processes to active warrants as they are based on probable cause. These orders will not only have the probable cause declaration attached to it but will also have a mention of the house, office or other property to be searched and the date till which the order will remain valid.
Warrants and search warrants are to be served by authorized agents of the law while summons can be served by any person authorized by the court to do so. Unlike search orders which are restricted to the property that was mentioned in the declaration, arrest warrants and summons can be served anywhere in the state of WV. Warrants are typically executed by detaining the accused and bringing him before the magistrate who issued the order.
In contrast, summons is executed by delivering a copy of the order upon the defendant. If a summons is ignored, this can immediately lead to the issue of an arrest order in the name of the accused. Upon execution, all legal provisions are returned to the office of the judicial entity that released the order or the office of the clerk of court for keeping in the case and court records.
Because there are no restrictions placed on the dissemination of crime history data in West Virginia, you will find the state police to be the most credible source of information on arrest records, warrant issues, conviction details and more. It will help to understand here that while you will be given access to the court dockets of a criminal matter when you seek a warrant search, the information offered will be limited to cases that were disposed in a guilty verdict.
To get details on arrest warrants that are held pending in the system, you will have to rely on the most wanted list furnished on the website of the WVSP. For conducting a background check, you can get in touch with the law enforcement agency by writing to them at West Virginia State Police, Criminal Investigation Reports, 725 Jefferson Road, South Charleston, W 25309-1698 or sending your requests through their website at http://www.wvstatepolice.com/.
Send in your inquiries by using the form available on http://www.wvstatepolice.com/traffic/wvsp141.pdf and include a $20service fee check. Arrest records can also be sought through the West Virginia Regional Arrest and Correctional Facility Authority at 1325 Virginia St. East, Charleston, WV 25301. Their website with the inmate search feature can be found at http://www.wvrja.com/puboffsearch/offsearch.asp.