Virginia

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

Indigent parents have a right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have the right to an attorney-GAL in abuse/neglect proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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All Basic Human Needs

Legislation

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel in any civil case.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A statute requires the court to appoint counsel as GAL for a defendant under disability, rather than staying the case.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A minor has a right to counsel upon request in proceedings to bypass the parental consent requirement to have an abortion.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for the subject of a civil commitment proceeding, including appeal of any commitment order.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for the subject of a guardianship proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Prisoners

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel - prisoners where warden requests counsel

Prisoners have a right to counsel if the superintendent or warden requests counsel for them.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel in sexually violent predator commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The Virginia Supreme Court found a federal and state constitutional right to counsel for sexually violent predator confinement proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Sterilization

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Virginia law requires appointment of counsel prior to sterilization of a minor (which is the only context in which sterilization is authorized).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have the right to an attorney-GAL in a termination of parental rights case.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

An indigent parent has a right to counsel in contested adoption cases, except if the parent has not visited/seen the child for 6 months.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents have a right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Virginia children have a right to counsel in truancy cases (which are treated as "child in need of supervision" matters).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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