§62-3-1a. Written guilty plea; form; right to counsel; effect of plea; failure of plea to be signed or witnessed.
When a person under indictment for a crime indicates that he desires to plead guilty, he may be called upon to sign in open court a form acknowledging his plea to the indictment or to such count or counts thereof as he shall designate. Before accepting a plea of guilty, the court shall satisfy itself by interrogation of the defendant or his counsel that the defendant has received a copy of the indictment and understands the nature of the charges. If the defendant is without counsel, the court shall advise him of his constitutional right to the assistance of counsel before pleading to the indictment. If the defendant is an indigent, the court shall offer to appoint counsel for him. The plea when signed and witnessed shall become a part of the record of the case. The plea shall be sufficient if it is substantially in the following form:

A. If the defendant is represented by counsel:

STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA

vs.Indictment No...............

..............................

(Defendant)

In the presence of ....................., my counsel, who has fully explained the charges contained in the indictment against me and having received a copy of the indictment before being called upon to plead, I hereby plead guilty to said indictment and each count thereof.

Date: .................

Witness:

...............................

(Defendant)

...............................

(Counsel for Defendant)

B. If the defendant has waived counsel:

STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA

vs.Indictment No...............

..............................

(Defendant)

I certify that I have been advised of my constitutional right to the assistance of counsel; that I have no money to employ counsel; that I have been offered counsel at no cost to me; and that I have given up my right to have counsel provided to assist me.

I have received a copy of the indictment before being called upon to plead. It has been read or explained to me and I fully understand the nature of the charges against me, including the penalties that the court may impose.

I hereby plead guilty to said indictment and each count thereof.

Date: ..............................

Witness:

...............................

(Defendant)

.............................

(Clerk)

The plea when signed and witnessed shall constitute prima facie evidence that the defendant was fully advised of his rights as herein provided, and that his plea was properly entered. The neglect or failure to cause a plea to be signed or witnessed shall not invalidate the plea or any judgment rendered thereon, provided the record otherwise discloses that the defendant was advised of his rights and that the plea was otherwise properly entered.