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Ask for Legal Help
The ACLU of Colorado does not review requests for legal assistance in person or over the telephone. To ask the ACLU for legal assistance, you must write a letter or send an e-mail or fax. Send the request to:
ACLU of Colorado
303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 350
Denver, CO 80203
Attn: Legal Intake
OR: e-mail to email@example.com
OR: fax to 303-777-1773
Your request for legal assistance will be processed within 4-8 weeks of receipt of the request. Please allow a minimum of 30 days for us to evaluate your letter.
Please limit your correspondence to 2-3 pages; do not send original documents by mail as these will not be returned. If contacting us by e-mail, please be sure to put the description of your complaint in the body of your e-mail. We will be unable to discuss your case over the phone.
Be sure to include your mailing address, e-mail address (if available), phone number, and DOC number (if applicable). If you write from a county jail or other temporary facility, please include the name and contact information of a close relative or friend who will always know where you are.
For information on other organizations that may be able to assist you, visit our Resources page.
In your letter, please describe in detail the incident or the issue that prompts you to request legal assistance:
- In describing the incident, it may be helpful to answer the five “W” questions: who, what, when, where, and why.
- Be sure to identify the persons, business, institutions, or government agencies who are responsible for violating your rights.
- If the offending person or agency provided you with some sort of explanation, please let us know. If possible, please explain why you believe that explanation is not adequate.
- If the specific incident resulted in newspaper coverage, it may be helpful to include copies of the clippings.
- If you have documents, please send copies only; we cannot return originals.
- If your complaint involves mistreatment by police officers, it is especially helpful if you could obtain a copy of whatever report the police wrote.
- If you have already taken some action, such as filing an appeal or a complaint, please let us know the status of the matter.
- Please indicate whether the ACLU is authorized to write a letter of inquiry or a letter of protest using your name.
- Finally, please let us know what you are asking the ACLU to do for you.
Please note that the ACLU of Colorado generally does not accept the following types of cases:
- Family law. The ACLU of Colorado generally does not provide assistance in family law cases involving disputes about divorces, child custody, parenting time, or visitation.
- Denial of government benefits. The ACLU is unlikely to challenge a specific case of the denial of government benefits, such as worker’s compensation, unemployment, social security, or food stamps.
- Landlord-tenant disputes. The ACLU does not generally get involved in disputes between tenants and their private landlords, unless the issue involves discrimination prohibited by statute or ordinance.
- Criminal defense. The ACLU generally does not provide criminal defense attorneys to persons who are accused of crimes. There is an exception, however, when the alleged criminal activity clearly implicates a constitutional right such as freedom of speech. Thus, the ACLU is unlikely to provide a criminal defense to someone charged with burglary, even if the person asserts that the evidence was obtained in a search that violates the Fourth Amendment. On the other hand, the ACLU would consider assisting in the criminal defense of persons arrested for participating in a demonstration, if the arrests infringed on the right of free expression.
- Challenges to convictions or prison sentences. It is very unlikely that the ACLU would provide an attorney to challenge a person’s criminal conviction or the length of a prison sentence. Similarly, the ACLU will not be able to help prisoners who believe that the length of their sentence has been calculated incorrectly. If a pending appeal raises an important constitutional issue, the ACLU may submit an amicus brief in the appellate courts. Requests for amicus briefs should come from your appellate attorney.
- Complaints about attorneys. The ACLU does not handle complaints about a person’s current court-appointed attorney.
- Employment. The ACLU usually cannot help when employees believes that they were fired unjustly or were otherwise treated unfairly at work. This is especially true when the employer is a private company rather than a government agency. But when workers can show that they were fired or mistreated because of their race, gender, ethnic background, religion, disability or any other basis that violates anti-discrimination statutes, there is stronger legal protection. In such cases, we ask that you pursue your complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) before you send a letter to the ACLU of Colorado. For information about filing a complaint with the CCRD, go to http://www.dora.state.co.us/civil-rights/ or call the agency at 303-894-2997.
- Cases that are too old. There are time deadlines for initiating most legal actions. If the incident occurred too far in the past, it may be too late for a legal remedy. The ACLU of Colorado cannot provide advice about what time deadlines may apply to your particular legal matter.