Colorado

This page provides a breakdown of all major developments and right to counsel law that the NCCRC knows for this state, sorted by subject area. Click on either tab below to see the aspect it describes.

Color Key Explanation
Categorical Right To Counsel There is a right to counsel without qualification for all indigent individuals in this type of case (except that the individual may be required to request counsel).
Discretionary Appointment Of Counsel Courts are permitted but not required to appoint counsel for any indigent individual in this type of case. A request may be required.
Right Or Appointment Is Qualified The established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including: the only authority comes from a lower/intermediate court decision or a city government, not a high court or state legislature; a case has cast doubt on prior authority; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all individuals or proceedings within that type of case.
No Such Proceeding This state has no law creating a judicial proceeding of this type.
None While this state does not provide for or require appointment of counsel with respect to the given subject area, it does have something (such as a report or bar policy) that supports the right to or appointment of counsel for this subject area.
Other Because the "Other subject areas” category can include developments from different subject areas that do not work the same way as each other, a blanket categorization of this category is not possible.

Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A statute requires counsel for indigent parents for all stages of dependency proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A court must appoint a GAL who is an attorney for a child in an abuse/neglect proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for a minor seeking to waive the parental notification requirement for abortion.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Civil Contempt in Family Court

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

An intermediate court found a right to counsel for indigent litigants in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent persons committed for 72 hours or for alcohol treatment.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Custody Disputes - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for children in custody proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Colorado expands appointment of counsel to later guardianship proceedings

06/10/2016

A 2016 law authorizes a court to appoint counsel post-imposition of a guardianship/conservatorship if the court determines the ward needs it.

Read more about this

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Colorado statutes guarantee counsel for the proposed ward in guardianship establishment and termination, but it requires a request.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Housing - Discrimination

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for either side in a housing discrimination case, if indigent.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

An intermediate court found a right to counsel for indigent litigants in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Involuntary Medical Treatment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for an an indigent, involuntarily-committed patient over nonconsensual antipsychotic medication treatment.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Quarantine/Inoculation

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel - Sterilization

There is a statutory right to counsel for sterilization of developmentally disabled persons.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

No such proceeding

There is no procedure in the state for confinement of a sexually dangerous/violent person.

Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children in termination of parental rights proceedings must be appointed a GAL who is an attorney.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A statute requires the appointment of counsel for indigent parents in termination of parental rights proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children in Colorado truancy proceedings have a right to counsel in some situations but not others.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Other Subject Areas

Legislation

Discretionary appointment of counsel - education

A court may appoint counsel for children in School Attendance Law cases.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

Read more about this

Discretionary appointment of counsel - traffic court

Counsel may be appointed for an indigent party in a traffic court proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

Read more about this

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