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Clowning Around Could Land You a Year in Jail


West Virginia Code § 61-6-22 specifically makes it a criminal offense to wear any type of mask, hood or device whereby a person’s face is so covered as to conceal their identity. This applies in any public place, specifically including vehicles driven on public roads. There is also a provision that prevents any person wearing such a mask or hood from requesting entrance into a residence or business.

The statute provides several noted exceptions, including persons under 16, traditional holiday costumes, employment where a mask or hood is required for safety, civil defense, and protection while participating in a winter sport.

Any person convicted is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be fined up to $500 and imprisoned in jail for up to one year.