Psychiatric Hold 5250

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A preliminary psychiatric hold of 72 hours is imposed on a person (under Welfare and Institutions Code 5150) who is thought to be a danger to self, others, or gravely disabled.  During the time of this hold the patient is subject to an in depth evaluations from a licensed medical professional.  If it is determined that the hospitalized patient presents an imminent danger to themselves or the general public, the evaluating professional can request an additional 14 day under the authority of Welfare and Institutions Code 5250.  This 14 day period is designated for “intensive psychiatric treatment.”

While this law was written to protect the mentally ill, similar to many other laws, it can be abused and misinterpreted.  Any number of things can lead to the illegal hold of a mentally handicapped person including, but not limited to: an irrational fear of something different, encouragement from a family member or friend who does not understand the complexities of mental illness, or even a misdiagnoses coming out of an under staffed mental health facility.

Hearing Representation (How Can A Mental Health Lawyer Help)

When a doctor or facility recommends a 5250 involuntary psychiatric hold it is mandatory that they file it with the court system and that a probable cause hearing is held.  During this hearing, the overseeing physician or psychologist must prove that 14 days of intensive treatment is necessary for the safety of the patient and/or the general public. A lawyer with experience can represent you at this hearing and defend your rights.

WIC Code 5250

If you feel like you or someone you know has been illegally held in a mental health facility, may be able to help.’s panel of attorneys includes a number of lawyers with experience fighting for the rights of the mentally ill.

If a person is detained for 72 hours under the provisions of Article 1 (commencing with Section 5150), or under court order for evaluation pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 5200) or Article 3 (commencing with Section 5225) and has received an evaluation, he or she may be certified for not more than 14 days of intensive treatment related to the mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism, under the following conditions:

(a)The professional staff of the agency or facility providing evaluation services has analyzed the person’s condition and has found the person is, as a result of mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism, a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled.

(b)The facility providing intensive treatment is designated by the county to provide intensive treatment, and agrees to admit the person. No facility shall be designated to provide intensive treatment unless it complies with the certification review hearing required by this article. The procedures shall be described in the county Short-Doyle plan as required by Section 5651.3.

(c)The person has been advised of the need for, but has not been willing or able to accept, treatment on a voluntary basis.

(d)(1)Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of subdivision (h) of Section 5008, a person is not “gravely disabled” if that person can survive safely without involuntary detention with the help of responsible family, friends, or others who are both willing and able to help provide for the person’s basic personal needs for food, clothing, or shelter.
(2)However, unless they specifically indicate in writing their willingness and ability to help, family, friends, or others shall not be considered willing or able to provide this help.
(3)The purpose of this subdivision is to avoid the necessity for, and the harmful effects of, requiring family, friends, and others to publicly state, and requiring the certification review officer to publicly find, that no one is willing or able to assist the mentally disordered person in providing for the person’s basic needs for food, clothing, or shelter.

Finding the Right Psychiatric Hold Lawyer

A number’s panel member attorneys have a significant amount of knowledge and experience defending individuals at probable cause hearings and can help ensure that you are not illegally held against your will. is aware of the severity and repercussions of a psychiatric hold being cemented on your medical record and may be able to keep that from happening.  Please do not hesitate to cal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Psychiatric Hold 5250
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