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2-4-401. Definitions.


The following definitions apply to every statute, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) Behavioral health refers to an individuals mental and emotional well-being and actions that affect an individuals overall wellness. Behavioral health problems and disorders include substance use disorders, serious psychological distress, suicide, and other mental health disorders. Problems ranging from unhealthy stress or subclinical conditions to diagnosable and treatable diseases are included in the term behavioral health. The term behavioral health is also used to describe service systems that encompass prevention and promotion of emotional health, prevention and treatment services for mental health and substance use disorders, and recovery support.

(1.1) Child includes child by adoption.

(1.3) Civil union means a relationship established by two eligible persons pursuant to the requirements of article 15 of title 14, C.R.S., that entitles them to receive the benefits and protections and be subject to the responsibilities of spouses.

(1.4) Civil union certificate means a document that certifies that the persons named in the certificate have established a civil union in this state in compliance with the provisions of article 15 of title 14, C.R.S.

(1.5) Contraceptive or contraception means a medically acceptable drug, device, or procedure used to prevent pregnancy.

(2) Court means a court of record.

(2.5) Repealed.

(3) Executor includes administrator and administrator includes executor.

(3.2) Felony includes a drug felony described in article 18 of title 18.

(3.4) Gender expression means an individuals way of reflecting and expressing the individuals gender to the outside world, typically demonstrated through appearance, dress, and behavior.

(3.5) Gender identity means an individuals innate sense of the individuals own gender, which may or may not correspond with the individuals sex assigned at birth.

(3.6) Final disposition means the disposition of human remains by entombment, burial, cremation, natural reduction, or removal from the state.

(3.7) Immediate family member means a person who is related by blood, marriage, civil union, or adoption.

(4) Issue, as applied to the descent of estate, includes all the lawful, lineal descendants of the ancestor.

(5) Land, lands, or real estate includes lands, tenements, and hereditaments, and all rights thereto and all interests therein.

(6) Minor means any person who has not attained the age of twenty-one years. No construction of this subsection (6) shall supersede the express language of any statute.

(6.3) Misdemeanor includes a drug misdemeanor described in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S.


(6.5) (a) Must means that a person or thing is required to meet a condition for a consequence to apply. Must does not mean that a person has a duty.

(b) This subsection (6.5):

(I) Is not intended to alter the interpretation of a statute enacted before August 7, 2013; and

(II) Applies to statutes enacted on or after August 7, 2013, but only with regard to language that appears in small capital font in the session laws published pursuant to section 24-70-223, C.R.S.

(6.9) Natural reduction or naturally reduce means the contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to soil.

(7) Oath includes affirmation, and swear includes affirm.

(7.5) Partner in a civil union or party to a civil union means a person who has entered into a civil union in accordance with the requirements of article 15 of title 14, C.R.S.

(8) Person means any individual, corporation, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, limited liability company, partnership, association, or other legal entity.

(8.5) Repealed.

(9) Personal representative includes executor, administrator, conservator, or guardian.

(9.5) Petty offense includes a drug petty offense described in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S.

(10) Population means that shown by the most recent regular or special federal census.

(11) Property means both real and personal property.

(12) Registered mail includes certified mail.

(13) Rule includes regulation.

(13.5) Sexual orientation means an individuals identity, or another individuals perception thereof, in relation to the gender or genders to which the individual is sexually or emotionally attracted and the behavior or social affiliation that may result from the attraction.


(13.7) (a) Shall means that a person has a duty.

(b) This subsection (13.7):

(I) Is not intended to alter the interpretation of a statute enacted before August 7, 2013; and

(II) Applies to statutes enacted on or after August 7, 2013, but only with regard to language that appears in small capital font in the session laws published pursuant to section 24-70-223, C.R.S.

(14) State, when applied to a part of the United States, includes any state, district, commonwealth, territory, insular possession thereof, and any area subject to the legislative authority of the United States of America.

(15) United States includes all states, the District of Columbia, and the territories, commonwealths, and possessions of the United States.

(16) Will includes a codicil.

(17) Written or in writing includes any representation of words, letters, symbols, or figures; but this provision does not affect any law relating to signatures.


Source: L. 73: R&RE, p. 1426, 1.C.R.S. 1963: 135-1-401. L. 80: (2.5) added, p. 751, 1. L. 90: (8) amended, p. 444, 2, effective April 18. L. 2008: (13.5) added, p. 1598, 9, effective May 29. L. 2009: (1.5) added,(SB 09-225), ch. 126, p. 546, 1, effective August 5. L. 2013: (1.3), (1.4), (3.7), and (7.5) added,(SB 13-011), ch. 49, p. 157, 5, effective May 1; (6.5) and (13.7) added,(HB 13-1029), ch. 8, p. 21, 2, effective August 7; (3.5) added,(SB 13-250), ch. 333, p. 1942, 65, effective October 1. L. 2014: (6.7) and (8.5) added,(SB 14-163), ch. 391, p. 1968, 1, effective June 6. L. 2015: (8.5) repealed and (9.5) added,(SB 15-264), ch. 259, p. 940, 3, effective August 5. L. 2017: (1) amended and (1.1) added,(SB 17-242), ch. 263, p. 1250, 2, effective May 25. L. 2021: (3.6) and (6.9) added,(SB 21-006), ch. 123, p. 488, 1, effective September 7; (3.2) and (3.4) added and (3.5) and (13.5) amended,(HB 21-1108), ch. 156, p. 889, 9, effective September 7.


Editors note: (1) Subsection (2.5) provided for the repeal of subsection (2.5), effective July 1, 1987. (See L. 80, p. 751.)

(2) Subsection (6.3) was added as subsection (6.7) in SB 14-163 but was renumbered on revision in 2020 to place defined terms in alphabetical order.

(3) Section 31 of chapter 123 (SB 21-006), Session Laws of Colorado 2021, provides that the act adding subsections (3.6) and (6.9) applies to final dispositions of human remains or human fetuses on or after September 7, 2021.

Cross references:

(1) For other statutes having age qualifications that differ from that set out in the definition of minor, see selection for jury service, 13-71-105; liability for damages, 13-21-107; contracts and agreements, article 22 of title 13; the Colorado Probate Code, 15-10-201 (32).

(2) For the legislative declaration contained in the 2008 act enacting subsection (13.5), see section 1 of chapter 341, Session Laws of Colorado 2008.

(3) For the legislative declaration in the 2013 act adding subsections (6.5) and (13.7), see section 1 of chapter 8, Session Laws of Colorado 2013.

(4) For the legislative declaration in SB 17-242, see section 1 of chapter 263, Session Laws of Colorado 2017.

(5) For the legislative declaration in HB 21-1108, see section 1 of chapter 156, Session Laws of Colorado 2021.


Law reviews. For article, What Really Happens in Child Support Cases: An Empirical Study of Establishment and Enforcement of Child Support Orders in the Denver District Court, see 57 Den. L.J. 21 (1979).

Minor applies to Wrongful Death Act. The definition of minor in subsection (6) applies to the Wrongful Death Act, 13-21-201 through 13-21-204. Hesseltine v. United States, 538 F. Supp. 1003 (D. Colo. 1982).

Emancipation ordinarily occurs upon the attainment of majority. Koltay v. Koltay, 667 P.2d 1374 (Colo. 1983).

Workers compensation statute does not supersede definition of minor. The statute setting forth compensation payable to minors contains no language superseding the definition of minor in this section, and award of maximum benefits to claimant who was 20 years and 6 weeks and a minor at the time of injury was proper. Casa Bonita Restaurant v. Indus. Commn, 677 P.2d 344 (Colo. App. 1983).

The definition of a minor in subsection (6) of this section is not applicable in 19-3-602 (3) because the context otherwise requires. People ex rel. L.A.C., 97 P.3d 363 (Colo. App. 2004).

The context of 19-3-602 (3) requires that minor be defined as a person 18 years of age or older. Defining minor in 19-3-602 (3) as a person under the age of 21 would be inconsistent with 13-22-101 and the definitions of child and adult in the Colorado Childrens Code. People ex rel. L.A.C., 97 P.3d 363 (Colo. App. 2004).

Applied in Tobias v. State, 41 Colo. App. 444, 586 P.2d 669 (1978); In re Hellman, 474 F. Supp. 348 (D. Colo. 1979); People v. Lessar, 629 P.2d 577 (Colo. 1981); People v. Cantwell, 636 P.2d 1313 (Colo. App. 1981).