Involuntary Commitment Hearings in Virginia

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with a serious mental health disorder, or are currently experiencing a mental health crisis, the involuntary commitment process in Virginia is  vitally important to understand.

An involuntary commitment is a judicial process that allows hospitals and other treatment facilities to hold patients for treatment, even if they are asking to be discharged, if it is determined that the patient poses a threat to themselves or others.

Under current law, within 72 hours of being admitted to the hospital, a patient is entitled to a hearing with a special justice to determine whether they can be involuntarily committed.

At that hearing, the judge can order that the patient be held up to 30 days, order that the patient attend mandatory outpatient treatment, or order that the patient be released from the treatment facility.  During that hearing, the patient can also volunteer to be admitted for treatment.

The patient has a right to retain private counsel for this hearing or to be represented by court-appointed counsel.  The patient also has the right to be present and testify during the hearing.

Prior to the hearing an independent psychiatrist or a psychologist who is licensed in Virginia by the Board of Medicine or the Board of Psychology will interview and evaluate the patient.  That independent evaluator will present his findings and opinion at the hearing.  The Judge will also receive a preadmission screening report from the hospital that they can rely on when rendering their decision.

If the patient is either involuntarily admitted to the treatment facility or ordered to complete mandatory outpatient treatment, it becomes unlawful for the patient to purchase, possess, or transport a firearm.

If you or a loved one have questions about an Involuntary Commitment Hearing in Virginia contact the attorneys at Winslow, McCurry & MacCormac.