Pretrial Release | West Virginia

3/13/2013

State legislatures consider and enact laws that address all aspects of pretrial policy, including citations, release eligibility, conditions of release, commercial bail bonding, victims’ rights and diversion. These legislative policies have an important role in providing fair, efficient and safe practices carried out by law enforcement and the courts.

Below is a synopsis of this state’s pretrial release laws as of March 2013 and any relevant legislative reports or audits. Recent enactments modifying these provisions can be found in NCSL’s pretrial enactments database.

Laws

Citation in Lieu of Arrest

Issuing a citation is not presumptive, however a citation can be issued for misdemeanors or when a person is detained for investigation of shoplifting. A citation cannot be issued for offenses involving injury to a person. Citations can be issued prior to arrest by law enforcement officers. (§ 62-1-5a)

Pretrial Release Eligibility

State statute provides a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for offenses punishable by life imprisonment. (§ 62-1C-1)

Pretrial Release Conditions

Law allows release on personal recognizance. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit, property bond, supervision and additional requirements. Electronic monitoring is authorized for any defendant eligible for pretrial release. (§ 62-1C-1a; § 62-1C-2; § 62-1C-4; § 62-1C-17a; § 62-1C-17c; § 62-11B-4(a))

Bail Bond Agent Licensure

The Supreme Court of Appeals regulates professional bondsmen. Crimes that can cause licenses to be denied or revoked include offenses involving moral turpitude. (§ 51-10-8)

Bail Bond Agent Business Practices

Bail agents are prohibited from soliciting business in any place where persons in the custody of the law are detained. They cannot make arrangements with public officials. (§ 51-10-7; § 51-10-3; § 51-10-4)

Bail Forfeiture Procedure

After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has 10 days to produce the defendant or provide an adequate reason why the defendant did not appear. Statute addresses standards for remission procedure. (§ 62-1C-9; § 62-1C-11)

Recovery Agents

Recovery agents are overseen by a different regulatory authority than bail agents and are subject to more licensing requirements. Associations with bail agents must be disclosed, and recovery agents are required to wear identifying clothing and follow set guidelines when making arrests on private property. (§ 51-10A-2; § 51-10A-4)

Victims’ Rights and Protections

Victims have the right to notification of and be consulted about the pretrial release hearing.  They also have the right to notification of pretrial release. (§ 61-11A-6(4) & (5); § 62-1c-17c(c))

Pretrial Diversion

Substance abuse problem-solving courts are authorized diversion programs. (§ 62-15)

Resources

Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.