Information about being involuntarily detained.
72-Hour Hold or “5150”
When a person, as a result of a mental disorder, is a danger to himself/herself or others or is gravely disabled, a peace officer, a member of the attending staff, or another professional person designated by the county may with probable cause take the person into custody and place him or her in a facility for a 72-hour treatment and evaluation.
The facility shall require a written application stating the circumstances under which there is probable cause to believe that a person is, as a result of mental disorder, a danger to himself/herself or others or is gravely disabled. If the probable cause is based on the statement of a person other than a police officer, a member of the attending staff, or a professional person, this person shall be liable in a civil action for intentionally giving a statement that he or she knows to be false.
If you were brought into a mental health facility against your will because you were considered to be a danger to yourself, a danger to others, or gravely disabled because of a mental disorder, you may be held for up to 72 hours for treatment and evaluation unless the person in charge can establish that you need an additional 14 days of mental health treatment (Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 5150 and 5250).
14-Day Certification for Intensive Treatment or “5250”
If a person is detained for 72 hours under the provisions of Section 5150 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and has received an evaluation, he or she may be certified for not more than 14 days of intensive treatment related to a mental disorder or an impairment by chronic alcoholism under the following conditions:
• The professional staff of the facility that provides evaluation services has analyzed the person’s condition and has found that the person is a danger to himself/herself or others or is gravely disabled.
• The person has been advised of the need for, but has not been willing or able to accept, treatment on a voluntary basis
If you are held beyond 72 hours, you have the right to remain in the hospital for voluntary treatment. If you do not wish to stay voluntarily, you will automatically be scheduled for a certification review hearing, which will occur at the facility where you are staying within four 10 days of the end of your 72-hour hold. You may be represented at this hearing by a patients’ rights advocate or another person of your choice. You can also request to have family members or someone of your choice at the hearing to help explain your circumstances (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5250). If you want your advocate or a facility staff member to telephone someone for you, make this request before the hearing.
Re-certification for Intensive Treatment or “5260”
If during the 14-day certification you attempted or threatened to take your own life and if you remain an imminent threat of taking your life, your doctor may place you on an additional 14-day hold, which is known as a re-certification. You have the right to request a writ of habeas corpus. Please note that no hearing will take place for this hold (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5260).
Additional 30-Day Hold or “5270.1”
In some counties, after you have completed a 14-day period of treatment, you may be held for an additional 30 days if your doctor determines that you remain gravely disabled and you are unwilling to accept voluntary treatment. Another certification hearing will automatically be held. You have the right to have a patients’ rights advocate assist you at the hearing. You also have the right to request a writ of habeas corpus at any time during this period and to have a patients’ rights advocate or attorney assist you at the hearing (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5270.1).
Post Certification for Dangerousness or “5300 et. al.”
If sufficient reason exists at the end of the 14-day certification to believe that you are a danger to others because of a mental disorder, the person who is in charge of the facility may petition the court to require you to remain in the facility for further treatment. This treatment is not to exceed 180 days. You have the right to representation by an attorney and to a jury trial (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5300 et. al.).
If the person in charge of the facility where you are staying believes that you may benefit from the services of a conservator because you remain gravely disabled, you may be placed on a temporary conservatorship (T-con) for up to 30 days. At the end of 30 days, a hearing will be held to determine whether you remain gravely disabled and whether a one-year conservatorship will be necessary. Your advocate or attorney can assist you with the conservatorship hearing process (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5352.1).
If you request a writ of habeas corpus, you give up your right to have a certification hearing. Talk to your advocate for more details about how the writ process works.