West Virginia State Police Legal Section
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it a crime to threaten someone by e-mail?
18 USC Sec. 875(c) makes it a federal crime, punishable by fine, up to 5 years, or both for someone to transmit in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another....
W.Va. Code §61-3C-3 makes it a state crime, punishable by fine and/or jail time, to send obscene, harassing and/or threatening communications by computer.
Weapons - Concealed Carry Permits
Q. Who do I ask questions concerning the process for obtaining concealed weapons permits?
A. Contact the sheriff of the county where you reside.
Q. I live outside of West Virginia and I have a concealed carry permit for a firearm in my home state. Does West Virginia honor my permit?
A. Follow this link
to find out the current agreements. Currently, no other out-of-state concealed carry permits are honored. Please consult with authorities in your state in order to determine if a reciprocal agreement has been made with West Virginia.
Q. Is it lawful to carry weapons (e.g. rifles, shotguns, and pistols) in my vehicle when I travel in West Virginia?
A. Individuals who possess a valid concealed carry permit may carry a concealed handgun in a motor vehicle for purpose of self defense only. West Virginia permits anyone who can lawfully possess a handgun to carry an unconcealed handgun. If you choose to carry an unconcealed handgun in your vehicle and are stopped by a law-enforcement officer, you must understand that that the weapon will immediately attract the attention of the police officer. The presence of the weapon may lead to action by the officer to ensure his or her safety such as the drawing of his or her weapon, ordering you from the vehicle, and/or performing a pat-down search. Weapons intended for hunting must be unloaded and in a case when transported in a vehicle. It is strongly recommended that, if you do not have a valid concealed carry permit, while traveling in a vehicle, that all firearms be unloaded and cased in a location in the vehicle that is not readily accessible to any of the occupants. Any ammunition should be stored in a separate location from the firearm.
Q. How do I obtain a concealed carry permit in West Virginia?
A. You must be a West Virginia resident to obtain a West Virginia permit. Applications are processed by the Sheriff of your county of residence.
Q. I am a police officer from another state who will be traveling through West Virginia, may I lawfully carry my service weapon?
A. As of July 22, 2004, federal law permits any qualified current or retired law enforcement officer to carry a concealed firearm in any of the 50 states. Officers must carry identification issued from the agency from which they are employed or retired while possessing the firearm. Retired members from states other than West Virginia must carry proof that they have met their respective state’s standards for training and qualification on the firearm which they carry within one year of the date that they are carrying the firearm. Certain other restrictions apply. Please click here to view the complete text of the new law.
Weapons - Brady Bill Checks
Q. Must West Virginia do a Brady check if one has been done in another state?
Complaints Against Police Officers
Q. If I have a complaint concerning an employee of the State Police, who do I contact?
A. You have two options: 1. Contact the commander of your local State Police Detachment (those numbers are available from our home page), or 2. contact the State Police Professional Standards Section at 304.746.2110, or by mail at: West. Virginia State Police Professional Standards Section, 725 Jefferson Road, S. Charleston,WV, 25309-1698.
Q. If I want to complain about the fairness of a traffic citation issued to me by the State Police (and not about the conduct of the officer issuing the citation) who should I contact?
A. If you believe that a traffic citation was incorrectly or unjustly issued to you, you should request a hearing by contacting the Magistrate Court whose telephone number appears on the citation.
Q. If I wish to complain about the conduct of a city police officer or a deputy sheriff, who should I contact?
A. If the complaint concerns anything but a criminal act, you should contact that officer's chief of police or the sheriff. If the complaint involves criminal conduct, you may contact either the chief, the sheriff or your local State Police Detachment.
City Police Powers
Q. Can a city police officer work outside of the town limits?
A. Yes. City officers may leave the city limits to deal with crimes that occurred in the city as long as they remain in the county in which the city is located. This includes the pursuit of fleeing vehicles out of the city. Also, city, county, and state law enforcement agencies are permitted by law to enter into mutual aid agreements that may permit a city officer to leave the city and deal with matters that did not originate within the city.
Q. Do police officers have to be "certified" in order to lawfully operate a radar unit in West Virginia?
A. No, no certification is required under the law.
Q. When I am stopped for exceeding the speed limit and I request to see my speed on the radar, is the trooper required to show me the speed display on the radar?
A. No, federal National Highway Traffic Administration regulations prohibit troopers from locking-in or freezing vehicle speeds on the radar thus, the display would be blank.
Q. Is it illegal to use and possess a radar detector in West Virginia?
Q. Does radar work when the police car is moving toward me?
A. Yes, modern radar units are able to detect vehicle speed both when the police vehicle is moving and when it is stationary.
Employer Inquiries - Criminal History Records
Q. I am checking the background of a prospective employee and would like to know if that person has a criminal record. Can I obtain that information?
A. Yes, if the person completes a WVSP 39, Fingerprint Authorization Form, and provides a fully and properly completed FBI
FD-258, Applicant Fingerprint Card, those records can be released.
Detailed instructions and costs can be obtained by calling the Criminal Records Section at 304-746-2170.
Criminal History Records - Expungement
Q. Can my criminal record be expunged?
A. Criminal records can be expunged by law if you offer satisfactory proof that you have been acquitted of the specific charge and have no other convictions on your record. A pardon from the Governor does not act as an acquittal and is not a basis for expungement. Also, a circuit court order will not serve to expunge unless you have been acquitted of the charge and you have no other criminal convictions on your record.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Q. If I wish to complain because I believe that I have been discriminated against in either consideration for employment, or delivery of services by an employee of the State Police based on my race, gender, religion, age, disability, sex, etc., who should I contact?
A. The State Police EEO Counselor, Lt. Reginald Patterson, WV State Police, 725 Jefferson Road, South Charleston, WV, 25309, telephone number 304-746-2100, email email@example.com
Private Investigators & Security Firms
Q. I wish to obtain a license to perform private investigation and/or security services, who do I contact?
A. The West Virginia Secretary of State's Office, 304.558.6000, or e-mail: WVSOS@Secretary.State.WV.US.
Crash Reports - Missing Information
Q. I just ordered and received a copy of a traffic crash report and I noticed that certain driver's names were blacked-out. Why?
A. West Virginia law requires that the identity of juveniles charged with criminal acts be kept confidential, and the State Police routinely redacts any information that could lead to disclosure of any juvenile offender.
Harassing Phone Calls
Q. I've been receiving harassing telephone calls. What can I do?
A. Call the telephone company and explain your plight. They deal with this problem frequently and can give some guidance. Their number is in the front of the telephone book.
Call your local law enforcement agency. If you live inside municipality limits, call the city police; outside city limits, call the county sheriff or the nearest State Police detachment. In all likelihood, law enforcement agency will have to call the telephone company, so its best to start with the telephone company and let them handle it from there.
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