Civil Commitment in Washington State
Civil commitment is the legal process of forcing a person to undergo medical and or psychiatric treatment against their will. Such treatment is usually, but not always, for a psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia. Civil commitment proceedings can lead to a person being detained in a mental institution for inpatient treatment; or to less restrictive outpatient treatment where the person is not behind a locked door, but still subject to court-ordered treatment conditions.
Civil commitment proceedings in Washington are governed by Washington’s Involuntary Treatment Act (RCW 71.05). Walla Walla attorney Jeff Burkhart has extensive experience litigating these proceedings — he has handled several hundred ITA matters.
Civil commitment is a sensitive and challenging area of the law that very few lawyers ever touch. Having experienced civil commitment litigator Jeff Burkhart on your side will make a huge difference. If you, or a family member, are facing the prospect of involuntary treatment, contact Jeff Burkhart today.
The civil commitment process in Washington is essentially:
- Initial detention up to 72 hours
- Detention up to 14 days
- Detention (or less restrictive alternative (LRA)) up to 90 days
- Detention (or LRA) up to 180 days
Here are the civil commitment topics covered in this section:
- Important liberty interests at stake in civil commitment
- Initial evaluation
- Bases of detention
- Definition of “mental disorder”
- Likelihood of serious harm
- Definition of “gravely disabled”
- Less restrictive alternative (LRA)
- Petitions and standards of proof for
- 14-day detention
- Additional 90-day detention or LRA
- Additional 180-day detention or LRA
- Antipsychotic medications
- Electroconvulsive therapy
- Firearm rights
- Common patient types in civil commitment cases
- Sample court orders
- Washington’s state hospitals and other ITA treatment facilities
Walla Walla lawyer Jeff Burkhart is qualified to assist you with your legal rights and responsibilities regarding civil commitment in Washington.