West 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 (via the public defender) in abuse/neglect proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The Supreme Court of West Virginia found a state constitutional right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have a right to counsel (via the public defender) in abuse/neglect proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

All Basic Human Needs

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel - convicts, minors, or incompetent persons

Courts must appoint an attorney-GAL for an infant, incompetent person, or convict.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent minors have a right to counsel in proceedings to bypass the parental notification requirement for an abortion.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Civil Contempt in Family Court

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel (via the public defender) for indigent defendants in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The Supreme Court of West Virginia found a state constitutional right to counsel in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for subjects of a civil commitment proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The West Virginia Supreme Court found a federal and state due process right to an attorney-GAL in civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Civil Forfeiture

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent defendants in forfeiture proceedings under the West Virginia Contraband Forfeiture Act.

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 the child in a private custody dispute.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for the subject of a guardianship proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

Legislation

Right to counsel

The Supreme Court of West Virginia has recognized a state constitutional right to counsel in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel (via the public defender) for indigent defendants in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Paternity - Defendant/Respondent

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The Supreme Court of West Virginia found a state constitutional right to counsel in state-initiated paternity cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Prisoners

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel - prisoners

The Supreme Court of West Virginia has suggested that courts have the inherent authority to appoint counsel for prisoners.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Quarantine/Inoculation

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for TB quarantine.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel - quarantine

The Supreme Court of West Virginia found a right to counsel for indigent persons in cases involving confinement due to tuberculosis.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

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 have a right to counsel (via the public defender) in termination of parental rights cases.

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

Indigent parents have a right to counsel (via the public defender) in termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The Supreme Court of West Virginia found a state constitutional due process right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

West Virginia children are entitled to counsel in truancy proceedings (which are treated as a status offense).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

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