Defense structure, 2017

  • Organization


  • Oversight

    Partial oversight

West Virginia provides counsel to indigent youth through West Virginia Public Defender Services, a state-funded entity that administers, coordinates and evaluates programs by which the state provides legal representation to indigent persons, monitors the progress of various delivery systems, and recommends improvements.  Visit the National Juvenile Defender Center's West Virginia state profile for more details.

Waiver of counsel, 2014

A juvenile may waive his or her right to counsel as long as the waiver is knowingly made.

  • Restrictions on waivers
  • No restrictions
  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Age

    No restrictions

  • Crime

    No restrictions

  • Hearing

    No restrictions

  • Placement

    No restrictions

Timing of counsel, 2013

In West Virginia, an attorney for a juvenile can be appointed at the following points in the process: Custodial Questioning / Talk with Intake Officer; Detention Hearing / First Court Appearance / Arraignment; Once a Petition is Filed / Hearing on the Petition; All Stages of Proceedings / All Critical States of Proceedings.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Indigency requirements, 2013

Indigency determination: Judicially

In West Virginia, both juvenile and adult law provide the basis for juvenile indigency law and set the standard for determining indigency. In West Virginia, indigent defense training is available for appointed counsel. Indigency is judicially determined. Under certain circumstances, the Public Defender also makes the determination of indigency. Court can / must appoint attorney for juvenile if there is a conflict of interest between the juvenile and the parent. Specialized juvenile training available or required.

Collateral consequences, 2014

By Juvenile Court Rule of Procedure, the court must not accept a juvenile's admission to a charge at any stage of the proceedings without first determining the following based on the juvenile's statements on the record or contained in a written document signed by the juvenile and counsel that the juvenile understands the court's power to make a disposition of the charges if they are admitted. These powers include:

  1. The court's dispositional authority includes the most severe step of placing the juvenile in an institution
  2. The court's jurisdiction over an adjudicated delinquent could be up to the juvenile's 21st birthday
  3. The court's power to modify a disposition, even repeatedly, until the termination of the court's jurisdiction.

The colloquy also covers the youth's understanding of the potential future consequences of the court's disposition. Specifically, the possible effect on future dispositions imposed as a juvenile and the possible effect on future sentences imposed as an adult.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2014 legislative sessions.

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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