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West Virginia Public Traffic Records

What are West Virginia Public Traffic Records?

In West Virginia, public traffic records refer to a collection of documents that hold detailed information about a driver's traffic activities and which are readily available to the public.

The courts and the Division of Motor Vehicles are jointly responsible for creating and preserving traffic records in the state. Typically, these records contain the tickets, violations, convictions, sentences, license restrictions, and other traffic data related to a West Virginia driver's license holder.

Are Traffic Records Public in West Virginia?

Yes, certain traffic records are made accessible to citizens and other interested entities in West Virginia. For instance, the general public can inspect or copy traffic records kept by the courts under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act, except in cases where the law forbids disclosure. This often happens if a record bears sensitive information or has been sealed by court order.

However, traffic records maintained by the Division of Motor Vehicles have specific access, i.e., individuals can only retrieve the records upon meeting some requirements, such as:

  • The record belongs to the requester.
  • The requester has the written consent of the subject of the record.
  • The requester, being a company or business, has a legitimate reason for obtaining the record, as detailed in the Uniform Motor Vehicles Records Disclosure Act (codified at Article 2A of the West Virginia Code).

What Do West Virginia Traffic Records Contain?

West Virginia traffic records consist of the following information:

  • Personal information, i.e., a motorist's name, address, and date of birth
  • Traffic tickets, violations (including out-of-state violations reported to the state), and convictions
  • Suspensions and revocations
  • Driver's license number and status

However, if the court maintains the traffic record, it will contain information related to a traffic court case. This includes a case summary, the parties' names, convictions, and court sentences.

Does a Citation Go on Your Record in West Virginia?

Yes, it does. The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles records any citation committed by the holder of a WV driver's license. This applies regardless of the state or jurisdiction where an offense occurs, as West Virginia is a party to the Driver License Compact (an agreement between states to share information about traffic citations).

Types of Traffic Citations in West Virginia

One consequence of breaking a traffic law in West Virginia is that an offender will receive a Uniform Traffic Citation from the police. This is the only type of citation issued in the state, and it can be used for any kind of traffic violation (moving, non-moving, or parking violations).

Generally, anyone cited for a traffic offense in West Virginia must either pay the preset fine (i.e., plead guilty or no contest to the offense) or contest their citation in court. Any action the offender chooses must be completed before the statutory deadline runs out, or else the individual risks further penalties—for example, a license suspension, fine penalty, or bench warrant authorizing one's arrest.

West Virginia Traffic Citation Lookup

To look up a traffic citation in West Virginia, an individual can visit or contact the court with jurisdiction over their offense (this will be indicated on the citation). It is advisable to have one's citation number as it will be required to find the citation. The state judiciary's county map can be used to obtain the street address and contact number of the applicable court clerk.

As an alternative, an interested party can check the court's website for a citation payment portal. Although such portals are mainly used to pay citations, it may be possible to retrieve some information about a citation.

Finally, as traffic citations form part of the information on a West Virginia driving record, an individual can order a copy of their record from the state's DMV. The procedure is outlined below.

How to Lookup my West Virginia Traffic Records

West Virginia traffic records are included in the driving records maintained by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Hence, any individual who wants to look up their traffic history can ask the DMV for a copy of their driving record. There are three ways to request this record:

Online: West Virginia driver license holders can obtain their traffic records online through the DMV's driving record portal. Each requester will need to provide the following information to access the portal:

  • Driver's license number
  • Last name
  • First name, middle name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security or alien registration number (the last four digits)

In-person: An individual can visit any DMV regional office to request their traffic record. All requesters must come with proof of identification, i.e., a valid driver's license or state-issued photo identification. The locations, business hours, and contact numbers of the offices can be obtained from the DMV's Regional Offices web page.

By mail: Requesting one's West Virginia traffic record by mail requires the completion and submission of the Driving Record Request (DMV-101-PS1) form, as well as the following information:

  • A copy of a driver's license or state-issued photo ID
  • A non-refundable $7.50 processing fee (for someone who provides their name and driver's license number) or a non-refundable $8.50 fee (for someone who does not have their driver's license number but can provide their date of birth or social security number). This fee is payable by a check or money order to the "West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles."
  • A mailing address to receive the record

Below is the address to send the request for a West Virginia traffic record:

WV Division of Motor Vehicles
Driving Records Section
P.O. Box 17020
Charleston, WV 25317

For further assistance or inquiries, the West Virginia DMV can be reached via email, fax at (304) 957-7584, or phone at (304) 926-3952

West Virginia traffic case records may also be available from third-party websites since they are considered public records. Unlike government sources or websites, third-party websites do not have geographical limitations. Hence, interested parties may access these websites from anywhere in the world. However, some third-party websites may require registration or subscription to access traffic record

West Virginia Traffic Violations

A traffic violation in West Virginia is any infraction of the state's traffic laws. This can include speeding, running a red light, or even failure to yield to pedestrians. Depending on the severity of the offense, a traffic violation can result in a warning, a ticket, or even an arrest. In some cases, points may be added to the offender's driver's license.

When an offender is pulled over for a traffic violation, the officer will likely ask for their license and registration. They may also be issued a ticket or warning. If given a ticket, the offender will have to appear in court and pay a fine. If convicted of a more serious offense, such as DUI or reckless driving, they may face jail time, a suspended license, or higher insurance rates.

West Virginia License Plate Lookup

The most effective way to find information about a specific vehicle in West Virginia is to know how to lookup West Virginia license plates. License plate information is a significant component of West Virginia traffic records and can be used to help identify drivers who have caused accidents or committed crimes.

In West Virginia, license plate information is maintained by the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Interested persons can look up license plates online or in person at a DMV office.

To look up a license plate online, visit the DMV website and click on the "License Plate Lookup" link. Users will need to provide the license plate number and the vehicle identification number (VIN). The VIN is a 17-digit number on the vehicle's dashboard or the insurance card.

The DMV website also provides a list of all the registered vehicles in West Virginia. The requesting party can look up a car by license plate number, VIN, or name.

To lookup license plates in person, requestors may visit any DMV office in West Virginia or contact the state DMV at (304) 558-3900 for information on processing license plate lookup requests.

How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in West Virginia

West Virginia's Freedom of Information Act stipulates public access to records held by courts within the state. As such, citizens and other interested persons can request traffic case records from the custodians (the clerks of the courts) without providing a statement of purpose. Usually, the clerks do not impose a fee on someone who wants to view a record, only when their request pertains to the reproduction of a record.

To examine any West Virginia traffic case record for free, an individual must visit the courthouse where the case was heard. Generally, it is advisable to contact the custodian's office beforehand to determine the record's availability and specific requirements for record inspections.

How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in West Virginia

When a West Virginia driver's license holder commits a traffic offense, that offense is added to the person's public record—specifically their driving record and criminal record (if the offense led to a conviction). However, a traffic offense may not remain on one's record indefinitely.

For a driving record, the Division of Motor Vehicles keeps the record of a traffic offense for five years. If the offense caused the addition of demerit points on an offender's record, those points would be listed for two years.

Traffic offenses that appear on criminal records, on the other hand, do not have a lapse date. However, the court can remove or seal the record if an offender qualifies for an expungement under W. Va. Code § 61-11-25 through § 61-11-26b. The effect is that the information will no longer appear on the offender's public record.

How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in West Virginia

Mainly, there are two ways to remove a traffic record that originated from West Virginia from a public website:

  1. Obtain an expungement order from the court: This option is reserved for people with criminal records. In these cases, upon satisfying certain conditions, the affected party can ask the court to expunge the record. (In West Virginia, expungement means sealing a public record.) If the court approves the request, all evidence of a person's traffic charge or conviction will be removed from public records.
    Typically, after entering an expungement order, the court will direct government agencies with custody of the record to expunge it. The allotted time frame for this action is 60 days. The unavailability of these records at the government level means that other people will be unable to access the record, making it impossible for them to distribute the record further.
  2. Opt-out of the site: In cases where a traffic record appears on a public website that a government agency does not manage, the affected party may find an opt-out tool or service on the site. This is more common with people search sites and engines.

An opt-out tool allows an individual to delete their record from a public site and, in most cases, other affiliated sites. However, the downside is that the record owner may have to repeat the opt-out process frequently. Because opting out of a public website does not delete the record at its source, as an expungement does, the record may reappear in the future.

Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in West Virginia?

Yes, they can. West Virginia categorizes motoring or traffic offenses as infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. As is typical with any traffic felony or misdemeanor that occurs within the state, a charge or conviction can appear on an offender's criminal record.