WEST VIRGINIA CODE
CHAPTER 5. GENERAL POWERS AND AUTHORITY OF THE GOVERNOR, SECRETARY OF STATE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL; BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS; MISCELLANEOUS AGENCIES, COMMISSIONS, OFFICES, PROGRAMS, ETC.
ARTICLE 14A. WEST VIRGINIA INTERPRETER FOR THE DEAF ACT.
§5-14A-1. Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "West
Virginia Interpreter for the Deaf Act."
As used in this article:
(a) "Deaf person" means one whose sense of hearing is
nonfunctional for the ordinary purposes of life;
(b) "Qualified interpreter" means an interpreter certified by
the national association of the deaf (NAD) or registry of
interpreters for the deaf (RID), or, in the event an interpreter so
certified is not available, an interpreter whose qualifications are
(c) "Oral interpreter" means a person who interprets language
through facial and lip movements; and
(d) "Appointing authority" means any court, department, board,
commission, agency, licensing authority, political subdivision or
municipality of the state required to provide an interpreter.
§5-14A-3. Appointment of interpreter in court action or grand
(a) In any case before any court or the grand jury, wherein
any deaf person is a complainant, defendant or witness, a qualified
interpreter to interpret the proceedings to the deaf person and
interpret his or her testimony or statements and to assist in
preparation with counsel shall be appointed as provided under the
provisions of section seven, article five, chapter fifty-seven of
this code. The court shall work closely with West Virginia
commission for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in finding the right
interpreter for any duty in court.
(b) Efforts to obtain the services of a qualified interpreter
certified with a legal skills certificate, or a comprehensive oral
interpreting certificate will be made prior to accepting services
of an interpreter with lesser certification. No qualified
interpreter shall be appointed unless the appointing authority and
the deaf person make a preliminary determination that the
interpreter is able to communicate readily with the deaf person and
is able to interpret accurately the statement of the deaf person
and interpret the proceedings in which a deaf person may be
§5-14A-4. Arrests -- Appointment of an interpreter.
(a) In the event a person who is deaf is arrested and taken
into custody for any alleged violation of a criminal law of this
state, the arresting officer or his or her superiors shall procure
a qualified interpreter in order to interrogate properly such deaf
person and to interpret such person's statements. No statement
taken from the deaf person before an interpreter is present may be
admissible in court.
(b) An oral interpreter shall be provided upon the request of
a deaf person entitled to an interpreter under this article, but
who does not communicate in sign language. The right of a deaf
person to an interpreter may not be waived except by a deaf person
who does not use sign language and who initiates the request for
waiver in writing. The waiver is subject to approval of legal
counsel for the deaf person, if any, and is subject to approval of
the appointing authority.
§5-14A-5. Administrative proceedings -- Appointment of
(a) In any proceeding before any department, board,
commission, agency or licensing authority of the state, in any
political subdivision or municipality, wherein any deaf person is
a defendant, the department, board, commission, agency, licensing
authority, political subdivision or municipality shall appoint a
qualified interpreter to interpret the proceedings to the deaf
person and to interpret his or her testimony or statements if said
deaf person requests an interpreter.
(b) In a proceeding before any department, board, commission,
agency or licensing authority of the state, in any political
subdivision or municipality, wherein any deaf person is an
applicant, complainant or principal witness, the department, board,
commission, agency, licensing authority, political subdivision or
municipality may appoint a qualified interpreter to interpret the
proceedings to the deaf person and to interpret his or her
testimony or statements if said deaf person requests an
§5-14A-6. Notice of necessity of interpreter -- Proof of deafness.
Every deaf person whose appearance in any proceeding entitles
him or her to an interpreter shall notify the appointing authority
of his or her desire for an interpreter at least forty-eight hours
prior to any appearance and may request at the time the services of
an interpreter: Provided, That if a deaf person reasonably expects
the need for an interpreter for a period greater than a single day,
he or she shall notify the appointing authority and the
notification shall be sufficient for the duration of his or her
participation in the proceedings.
An appointing authority may require a person requesting the
appointment of an interpreter to furnish reasonable proof of his or
her deafness when the appointing authority has reason to believe
that the person is not deaf.
§5-14A-7. Processing request for interpreter -- Duties and
It shall be the responsibility of the appointing authority to
channel requests for qualified interpreters through the West
Virginia commission for the deaf and hard-of-hearing except as
provided under the provisions of section seven, article five,
chapter fifty-seven of this code. This listing shall be made
available to authorities in possible need of interpreter service as
provided in this article.
§5-14A-8. Confirmation of accuracy of interpretation.
Before a qualified interpreter may participate in any
proceedings under the provisions of this article, the interpreter
shall make an oath or affirmation that he or she will make a true
interpretation in an understandable manner to the deaf person for
whom he or she is appointed and that he or she will interpret the
statements of the deaf person desiring that statements be made, in
the English language to the best of his or her skill and judgment.
The appointing authority shall provide recess periods as necessary
for the interpreter when the interpreter so indicates. Any and all
information that the interpreter gathers from the deaf person
pertaining to any proceeding then pending shall at all times remain
confidential and privileged, or on a equal basis with the
attorney-client privilege, unless the deaf person desired that the
information be communicated to other persons.
§5-14A-9. Interpreter fee; authority for legislative rules.
Notwithstanding the provisions of section seven, article five,
chapter fifty-seven with respect to fees, an interpreter appointed
under the provisions of this article shall be entitled to a
reasonable fee to be established by the West Virginia commission
for the deaf and hard-of-hearing under a fee schedule promulgated
by legislative rule pursuant to the provisions of chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code. When the interpreter is appointed by
a court, the fee shall be paid out of the local court fund and when
the interpreter is otherwise appointed, the fee shall be paid out
of funds available to the appointing authority.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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