West Virginia Code
CHAPTER 50. MAGISTRATE COURTS.
ARTICLE 2. JURISDICTION AND AUTHORITY.
Except as limited herein and in addition to jurisdiction granted elsewhere to magistrate courts, such courts shall have jurisdiction of all civil actions wherein the value or amount in controversy or the value of property sought, exclusive of interest and cost, is not more than $10,000. Magistrate courts shall have jurisdiction of all matters involving unlawful entry or detainer of real property or involving wrongful occupation of residential rental property, so long as the title to such property is not in dispute. Except as the same may be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-five of this code, regarding unlawful entry and detainer, shall apply to such actions in magistrate court. Magistrate courts shall have jurisdiction of actions on bonds given pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Magistrate courts shall have continuing jurisdiction to entertain motions in regard to post-judgment process issued from magistrate court and decisions thereon may be appealed in the same manner as judgments.
Magistrate courts do not have jurisdiction of actions in equity, of matters in eminent domain, of matters in which the title to real estate is in issue, of proceedings seeking satisfaction of liens through the sale of real estate, of actions for false imprisonment, of actions for malicious prosecution or of actions for slander or libel or of any of the extraordinary remedies set forth in chapter fifty-three of this code.
Magistrates, magistrate court clerks, magistrate court deputy clerks and magistrate assistants shall have the authority to administer any oath or affirmation, to take any affidavit or deposition, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, and to take, under such regulations as are prescribed by law, the acknowledgment of deeds and other writings.
(a) The provisions of article one, chapter fifty-six of this code, relating to venue of actions in circuit courts, shall apply to venue of actions in magistrate courts as if the same were set forth fully herein.
(b) The circuit court may, on the petition of the accused and for good cause shown, order the venue of the trial of a criminal case in magistrate court to be removed to some other county. Upon the filing of the petition, the proceedings in magistrate court shall be stayed until disposition by the circuit court. When the venue is so changed, the court making the order shall determine the county to which the case is to be removed and order the defendant to appear on some certain day before the court to which the case is removed. Where the defendant is in custody, the court may, if appropriate, order the defendant confined in a jail convenient to the court to which the case is removed. Upon receipt of the order changing venue, the magistrate court shall certify copies of its file of the case to the court to which the case is removed, and such court shall proceed with the case as if the prosecution had been originally therein, and for that purpose the certified copies aforesaid shall be sufficient.
In addition to jurisdiction granted elsewhere to magistrate courts, magistrate courts shall have jurisdiction of all misdemeanor offenses committed in the county and to conduct preliminary examinations on warrants charging felonies committed within the county and, upon order of referral from the circuit courts, to conduct preliminary examinations on probation violations, which examinations shall be conducted without delay and in all events not later than thirty days from the date any probation violation petition or motion has been filed in circuit court. A magistrate shall have the authority to issue arrest warrants in all criminal matters, to issue warrants for search and seizure and, except in cases involving capital offenses, to set and admit to bail: Provided, That in cases punishable only by the fine such bail or recognizance shall not exceed the maximum amount of the fine and applicable court costs permitted or authorized by statute to be imposed in the event of conviction.
(a) In addition to sentencing authority granted in other provisions of this code to magistrate courts, magistrate courts have authority to suspend sentences and impose periods of unsupervised probation for a period not to exceed two years, except for offenses for which the penalty includes mandatory incarceration and offenses defined in sections eight and nine, article eight-b, chapter sixty-one of this code and subsection (c), section five, article eight-d of said chapter.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, magistrate courts have the authority to impose periods of supervision or participation in a community corrections program created pursuant to article eleven-c, chapter sixty-two of this code. Periods of supervision or participation in community corrections programs imposed pursuant to this subsection are not to exceed two years.
(c) Release on probation is subject to the following conditions:
(1) That the probationer may not, during the term of his or her probation, violate any criminal law of this state, any other state of the United States or the United States;
(2) That he or she may not, during the term of his or her probation, leave the state without the consent of the court which placed him or her on probation;
(3) That he or she shall comply with the rules or terms prescribed by the court;
(4) That he or she shall make reasonable restitution if financially able to do so, in whole or in any part, immediately or within the period of probation: Provided, That the magistrate conducts a hearing prior to imposition of probation and makes a determination on the record that the offender is able to pay restitution without undue hardship; and
(5) That he or she shall pay any fine and the costs assessed as the court may direct: Provided, That the magistrate conducts a hearing prior to imposition of probation and makes a determination on the record that the offender is able to pay the costs without undue hardship.
(d) On motion by the prosecuting attorney, and upon a hearing and a finding that reasonable cause exists to believe that a violation of any condition of probation has occurred, the magistrate may revoke probation and order execution of the sentence originally imposed.