WVC 15 -
CHAPTER 15. PUBLIC SAFETY.
WVC 15 - 1 D-
ARTICLE 1D. ACTIVE STATE SERVICE.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 1
§15-1D-1. Calling out national guard by governor.
In event of war, insurrection, rebellion, invasion, tumult,
riot, mob or body of men acting together by force with intent to
commit a felony or to offer violence to persons or property, or
by force and violence to break and resist the laws of this state
or the United States, or in case of the imminent danger of the
occurrence of any of said events, or in event of public disaster
or emergency, the governor shall have power to order the West
Virginia national guard, or any part thereof, into the active
service of the state, and to cause them to perform such duty as
he shall deem proper.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 2
§15-1D-2. Limited emergency.
In time of public disaster or emergency, the governor may
declare a limited emergency in the affected area and designate
the commander of the national guard units called to duty to
coordinate and direct the activities of all persons,
organizations and agencies participating in the evacuation,
safeguarding, relief and rehabilitation of the affected area,
delegating to such commander such authority as he deems necessary
and expedient in the circumstances. The commander so designated
by the governor shall act for and on behalf of the governor and
take all actions in his name. Nothing contained in this section
shall be construed to limit or deny the authority of the governor
to declare martial law.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 3
§15-1D-3. Use of military force to disperse riots, etc.
Before using any military force in the dispersion of any
riot, rout, tumult, mob or unlawful assembly, or combination
mentioned in this article, it shall be the duty of the civil
authorities present, or if none be present, then of the officer
in command of the troops, or some person by him deputed, to
command the persons composing such riotous, tumultuous or
unlawful assembly or mob to disperse and retire peaceably to
their respective abodes and business; but in no case shall it be
necessary to use any set or particular form of words in ordering
the dispersion of any riotous, tumultuous or unlawful assembly;
nor shall any such command be necessary where the officer or
person, in order to give it, would necessarily be put in imminent
danger of loss of life or great bodily harm, or where such
unlawful assembly or mob is engaged in the commission or
perpetration of any forcible or atrocious felony, or in
assaulting or attacking any civil officer or person lawfully
called to aid in the preservation of the peace, or is otherwise
engaged in actual violence to persons and property.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 4
§15-1D-4. Failure to disperse.
Any person or persons composing or taking part in any riot,
rout, tumult, mob or lawless combination or assembly mentioned in
this article, who, after being duly commanded to disperse, as
provided in the preceding section, willfully and intentionally
fails to do so as soon as practicable, shall be guilty of a
felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in the
penitentiary for not less than one nor more than two years.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 5
§15-1D-5. Power of officers to arrest, disperse or quell persons
After any person or persons, composing or taking part, or
about to take part, in any riot, rout, mob, tumult, or unlawful
combination or assembly mentioned in this article shall have been
duly commanded to disperse, or when the circumstances are such
that no such command is requisite under the provisions of this
article, and the civil authority to whom such military force is
ordered to report, or if there be no civil authority present,
then such military officer acting within the limits provided in
his orders shall take such steps for the arrest, dispersion, or
quelling of the persons composing or taking part in any such mob,
riot, tumult, outbreak, or unlawful combination or assembly
mentioned in this article, as may be required, and if, in doing
so, any person is killed, wounded, or otherwise injured, or any
property injured or destroyed, by the civil authority or officer
or member of the national guard, or other persons lawfully aiding
them, such officer, member or person shall be held guiltless.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 6
§15-1D-6. Assaults on national guard or persons aiding it.
It shall be unlawful for any person to assault, fire upon,
or throw any missile at, against or upon any member or body of
the national guard, or civil officer, or other person lawfully
aiding them, when going to, returning from, or assembled for
performing any duty under the provisions of this article; and any
person so offending shall be guilty of a felony, and, on
conviction, shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less
than two nor more than five years.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 7
§15-1D-7. Repelling assault.
If any portion of the national guard, or any person lawfully
aiding them in the performance of any duty, under the provisions
of this article, is assaulted, attacked or in imminent danger
thereof, the commanding officer of such national guard need not
await any orders from any civil authority but may at once proceed
to quell such attack and disperse the attacking parties, and take
all other needful steps for the safety of his command.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 8
§15-1D-8. Duty to retire from unlawful assembly.
Whenever any shot is fired or missile thrown at, against or
upon any body of the national guard, or upon any officer or
member thereof, assembling or assembled for the performance of
any duty under the provisions of this article, it shall forthwith
be the duty of every person in the assembly from which such shot
is fired, or missile thrown, to immediately disperse and retire
therefrom, without awaiting any order to do so; and any person
knowing or having reason to believe that a shot has been so
fired, or missile thrown from any assembly of which such person
forms a part or with which he is present, and failing without
lawful excuse to retire immediately from such assembly, shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor; and any person so remaining in such
assembly, after being duly commanded to disperse, shall be guilty
of a felony, and on conviction shall be imprisoned in the
penitentiary not less than one nor more than two years.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 9
§15-1D-9. National guard to have right-of-way; exceptions.
Any portion of the national guard parading or performing any
duty according to law shall have the right-of-way in any street
or highway through which they may pass: Provided,
carriage of United States mails and operations of fire engines
and fire departments shall not be interfered with thereby.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 10
§15-1D-10. Regulation of occupancy of streets for passage of
Whenever any portion of the national guard is or has been
called out for the performance of any duty under the provisions
of this article, it shall be lawful for the commanding officer of
such national guard, if it be deemed advisable in the
circumstances of the emergency, to prohibit all persons from
occupying or passing on any street, road, or place, or where the
national guard may be for the time being, and otherwise to
regulate the passage and occupancy of such streets and places.
Any person, after being duly informed of such regulations, who
willfully and intentionally without any lawful excuse, attempts
to go or remain on such street, road, or place, and fails to
depart after being warned to do so, shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not less
than ten dollars nor more than one hundred dollars, or imprisoned
in the county jail not less than ten nor more than sixty days, or
both; and in such case the officer in command of the national
guard may forthwith arrest persons so offending and turn them
over to some civil authority.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 11
§15-1D-11. Transportation of officers and men.
The several railroads and other transportation companies in
this state shall furnish transportation for all officers and
enlisted men in the national guard, together with the stores,
ammunition and equipment, when traveling on duty under orders
from competent authority, on request of the officer desiring
transportation, which request shall state the number of persons
to be carried, and their destination, and for such transportation
said companies shall be entitled to receive compensation from the
state at the rate specified.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 12
§15-1D-12. Trespassing upon armories, etc.; interrupting,
interfering with, etc., national guard; regulation
of certain sales, gambling, etc., within certain
limits of armories, etc.
a. Any person who shall, after due warning, trespass upon
any armory, camp, range, or other facility of the national guard
or other place where any force of the national guard is
performing military duty, or who shall in any manner interrupt or
molest the discharge of military duties by any member or force of
the national guard, or who shall interrupt or prevent the passage
of troops of the national guard, or who shall insult, by jeer or
otherwise, any member of the national guard, or refuse to obey
any lawful order of the military commander, may be placed in
arrest by any officer of the force performing such military duty
at the place where the offense is committed and delivered to the
proper civil authorities.
b. The commanding officer of any force of the national
guard performing military duty in or at any armory, arsenal,
camp, range, base or other facility of the national guard or
other place or area where such force is performing duty in the
service of the state may prohibit persons from hawking, peddling,
vending, selling, or auctioning goods, wares, merchandise, food
products or beverages, and may prohibit all gambling, or the sale
or use of spirituous beverages, or the establishment or
maintenance of a disorderly place, within the limits of such
armory, arsenal, camp, range, base or other facility of the
national guard or other place or area where such force is performing duty, or within such limits not exceeding one mile
therefrom as he may prescribe.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 13
§15-1D-13. Regulations while state military forces on duty.
When any portion of the military forces of this state shall
be in active service of the state, pursuant to this article, the
code of military justice and the general regulations for the
government of the armed forces of the United States shall be
considered in force and regarded as a part of this article until
such forces shall be duly relieved from such duty. No punishment
under such rules and articles which shall extend to the taking of
life shall, in any case, be inflicted except in time of actual
war, invasion, or insurrection, declared by proclamation of the
governor to exist and then only after the approval of the
governor of the sentence inflicting such punishment.
WVC 15 - 1 D- 14
§15-1D-14. When martial law may be declared.
In the event of invasion, insurrection, rebellion or riot,
flood or other public disaster or emergency, the governor, in his
discretion, may by proclamation containing such powers as would
meet the exigencies of the situation, declare a state of martial
law or rule in the towns, cities, districts or counties where
such disturbances or emergencies exist.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
The West Virginia Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.