The terms “Mental Commitment,” “Civil Commitment,” and “Involuntary Commitment” all refer to legal proceedings in which someone with a mental illness is committed to a mental health facility against their will. In Texas this process is governed by the Texas Constitution and the Texas Health & Safety Code. This blog post is designed to walk you through the steps of having someone who is suffering from a severe mental illness committed to ensure the safety of that person and/or others.
4 Steps of Mental Commitment
There are up to 4 steps in the Mental Commitment process:
Step 1 in Mental Commitment: Emergency Detention
There are 3 types of Emergency Detention:
Emergency Detention without a warrant (Peace Officer Initiated)
If a peace officer believes 1) that the person is mentally ill and 2) that there is a substantial risk that the person will harm himself or others if that person is not immediately restrained (i.e., there is not time to go to the judge and get a warrant issued) then the officer may take that person into custody without a warrant and transport the person to the nearest inpatient mental health facility. Once at the facility, the officer may then file an application with the facility for an emergency detention.
Emergency Detention without a warrant (Guardian initiated)
Guardians of an adult person may not provide consent for inpatient psychiatric commitment. However, if a guardian believes 1) that the ward is mentally ill and 2) that the ward poses a substantial risk to harm herself or others without immediate restraint, then the Guardian may transport the ward to an inpatient mental health facility and apply for a preliminary examination and emergency detention without a warrant.
Emergency Detention with a Warrant
Typically this is the least common situation because if someone is suffering from severe mental illness that warrants an emergency detention there is not usually time to seek out a warrant. That said, any adult may file an Application for Emergency Detention. If the court finds reasonable cause it will issue a warrant for the proposed patient to be apprehended, transported to an inpatient mental health facility, and detained until further proceedings.
Step 2: Protective Custody
Step 3: Temporary Commitment (90 days)
Step 4: Extended Commitment (12 Months)
If after 90 days it is believed that the patient requires further treatment, then an application for extended treatment can be filed. To order the patient to undergo extended commitment, the court must find:
Involuntary Commitments & Guardianships
Chemical Dependency Commitments
The process for a chemical dependency commitment is very similar to a mental health commitment.
The attorneys at Romano & Sumner are experienced in the guardianship process as well as mental health commitments. To speak to an attorney about guardianship or mental health commitment, contact our office today.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC