Is commitment needed to bake

  • 1

    Obtain a ruling from a court. After a person has been examined, whether that person arrived voluntarily or involuntarily at the mental care facility, the hospital may determine that the person needs to be committed involuntarily. For this to happen, the attending physician must submit a petition to a court for a ruling.[14]
    • Involuntary placement can only occur after the initial examination and a court hearing.
  • 2

    Understand the criteria for involuntary placement. In order for a court to order you to be held involuntarily for treatment, the court must examine four well-defined factors. If you are trying to challenge an involuntary placement, you need to understand the factors in the decision, and then challenge the validity of one or more of them. The four factors are:[15]
    • you have refused voluntary placement or are unable to make the competent decision for yourself;
    • without treatment, you are likely to suffer neglect, because you are unable to care for yourself;
    • there is substantial likelihood that you will cause severe bodily harm to yourself or others;
    • other, less restrictive courses of action have been considered and have been ruled out as being insufficient.
  • 3

    Demand sufficient evidence for a court ruling on involuntary placement. For a court to make an involuntary placement, the court must find that the evidence presented is precise, explicit, lacking in confusion, and that it produces a firm belief without hesitation.[16]
    • The court must hear from doctors who have actually examined you. Expert testimony from uninvolved doctors is insufficient to make an involuntary commitment.
  • 4

    Demand a copy of the petition for involuntary placement. If you are the subject of a doctor’s petition for involuntary placement, the doctor must provide you with a copy of the petition at the time that it is filed with the court. If the subject is a minor or has been placed in the care of a guardian, then the parent or guardian must receive a copy. [17]

  • 5

    Consult with your attorney. Within one business day of the filing of a petition, the court must appoint a public defender to represent you. If you have your own attorney, you are entitled to consult with that attorney. The attorney must be allowed access to all hospital records related to your case and the filing of the petition.[18]

  • 6

    Request a continuance of the hearing, if you wish. You are entitled, upon the advice of your attorney, to request that the commitment hearing be continued once, for up to four weeks. This time is intended to allow you and your attorney to review the medical evidence and prepare for the hearing.
    • You need to realize that during this continuance, the hospital has the right to continue to hold you in its care.
  • 7

    Obtain an independent evaluation. During the time of the continuance, you are entitled to an independent evaluation by a physician of your own choosing. If you cannot afford an expert evaluation, the court will appoint an independent expert to conduct the examination.[19]

  • 8

    Decide if you wish to attend the hearing. A hearing must be conducted within five business days, unless you request a continuance. You have the right to attend that hearing. Alternatively, you may choose not to attend and have your attorney represent your interest alone. At the hearing, the court will hear evidence from both sides on the issue of your mental health, ability to care for yourself, and danger to self or others.

  • 9

    Receive the court’s decision. At the end of the hearing, the judge will make a final decision based on the evidence that was presented. The judge may decide to discharge you or commit you to the care facility for up to six months. [20]
    • If the judge believes that the facility where you have already been taken is adequate, he or she may order that you remain there.
    • If the judge believes another facility would be more appropriate, you may be ordered to be transferred.
  • 10

    Ask for a discharge if the need for placement no longer exists. If you have been involuntarily committed, and after some time the reason no longer exists, you can ask to be discharged. Upon your request, the mental care facility must take one of the following three actions:[21]
    • Determine that you are improved and grant a discharge. (This may not apply if you are under a criminal charge, in which case you will be transferred to a law enforcement facility.)
    • Transfer you from involuntary to voluntary status, and continue an appropriate course of treatment.
    • Place you on convalescent status at a community care facility. This would be for a person who no longer needs the intensive mental health care, but who is not able to live alone.