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Criminal Offense Reduction of a Felony

Written by Legal Aid WV


Under a new law, West Virginians can ask a court to change a felony to a “reduced misdemeanor” on your criminal record. This process is called Criminal Offense Reduction. The goal of the law is to improve employment opportunities for people who qualify.

How do you qualify?

  1. Type of Felony: Only nonviolent felonies qualify for a reduction. For a list of felonies that DO NOT qualify, read our article.
  2. West Virginia Conviction: This process only applies to felony convictions from West Virginia.
  3. Waiting Period Before Filing: You can file 10 years after you’ve completed your sentence or period of supervision or probation.
  4. No Other Convictions: During the 10-year waiting period, you cannot commit or be convicted of violating the law other than minor traffic offenses.

There are forms available that you can complete and file to start the process on your own.

If your reduction is granted, the felony will be changed to a “reduced misdemeanor” on your record. The reduced misdemeanor will not be removed from your record. In West Virginia, the only way to remove a felony from your record is to ask for a pardon from the Governor.

For more information about this new law and process, read our article.

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