Civil Commitment

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What is Civil Commitment?

Civil commitment is a court ordering for a person to receive treatment on the basis of mental health and public safety concerns. Treatment through civil commitment may be appropriate for those who are mentally ill, sexually dangerous, or chemically dependent and are seen as a threat to themselves and/or others. The court-ordered treatment may be involuntary if the person is unwilling to seek treatment on their own. In that case, civil commitment may be necessary in order to eliminate any threat or harm the person has to themselves or the public.

Civil Commitment Laws in Minnesota

The civil commitment process can begin by a variety of ways. For one example, if a person commits a crime and there is reason to believe the person’s mental state influenced their actions, there may be a need for a psychological evaluation. However, even if the person did not commit a crime, there may still be a need for an evaluation. If another person believes there is a potential threat to any person because of one’s mental state, they may contact the county who will then investigate whether it is needed. Likewise, hospitals and clinics may also contact the county if they believe a person is in need of treatment.

After an initial request is made, a county attorney will arrange a pre-screening. The screening is, then, done by a professional who evaluates the patient’s situation, medical history, criminal records, and mental health state. They may turn to the patient’s doctor, family, employer(s), or other individuals who may express concern in order to properly review the information relevant to go ahead with the procedure.

If the medical examiner determines that civil commitment is appropriate, they will file a request through a county attorney. Then, a court preceding will take place to debate both arguments for and against admitting a person into treatment. In court, a judge will decide the best treatment needed for the individual. Often times, this can mean admitting the client into a hospital or treatment facility. However, there may also be outpatient care options that allow individuals to receive treatment in their own homes.

How can we help?

Seeking a lawyer’s professional advice is extremely helpful when dealing with potential civil commitment cases. Because theswe types of cases are often involuntary, it’s important to protect your human freedoms and rights while making sure an appropriate civil commitment determination is made for you. In the same way, if you don’t believe that civil commitment is necessary, hiring a lawyer can be helpful for exploring other options. Some options may include acquiring an outpatient treatment or seeking treatment independently. With over 35 years of experience in elder law, the attorneys at Jeddeloh & Snyder will take on civil commitment cases and always consider your best interests.