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§53-8-4. Petition seeking relief.

(a) Underlying acts. – A petitioner may seek relief under this article by filing with a magistrate court a petition that alleges the commission of any of the following acts against the petitioner by the respondent:

(1) A sexual offense or attempted sexual offense as defined in section one of this article;

(2) A violation of subsection (a), section nine-a, article two, chapter sixty-one of this code; or

(3) repeated credible threats of bodily injury when the person making the threats knows or has reason to know that the threats cause another person to reasonably fear for his or her safety.

(b) Contents. –

The petition shall:

(1) Be verified and provide notice to the petitioner that an individual who knowingly provides false information in the petition is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to the penalties specified in subsection (d) of this section;

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, contain the address of the petitioner; and

(3) Include all information known to the petitioner of:

(A) The nature and extent of the act specified in subsection (a) of this section for which the relief is being sought, including information known to the petitioner concerning previous harm or injury resulting from an act specified in subsection (a) of this section by the respondent;

(B) Each previous and pending action between the parties in any court; and

(C) The whereabouts of the respondent.

(c) Address may be stricken. – If, in a proceeding under this article, a petitioner alleges, and the court finds, that the disclosure of the address of the petitioner would risk further harm to the petitioner or a member of the petitioner's household, that address may be stricken from the petition and omitted from all other documents filed with, or transferred to, a court.

(d) Providing false information. – An individual who knowingly provides false information in a petition filed under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $1,000 or confined in jail not more than ninety days, or both.

(e) Withdrawal or dismissal of a petition prior to adjudication operates as a dismissal without prejudice. – No action for a personal safety order may be dismissed because the respondent is being prosecuted for a crime against the petitioner. For any action commenced under this article, dismissal of a case or a finding of not guilty, does not require dismissal of the action for a civil protection order.

(f) Venue. – The action may be heard in the county in which any underlying act occurred for which relief is sought in the petition, in the county in which the respondent is living, or in the county in which the petitioner is living, either temporarily or permanently.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2020 Regular Session
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