Involuntary Commitment

Division Responsibilities & Services

The Involuntary Civil Commitment Division of DAC represents clients at Western State Hospital, Greater Lakes Recovery Center, Recovery Innovations and Telecare. The clients represented are all subject to being involuntarily detained under the provisions of RCW 71.05. This statute allows the state to detain an individual involuntarily if the state can prove the individual (1) suffers from a mental disorder; and (2) the individual is either a danger to themselves, others or property.

Care Under the Civil Commitment Statute

Under the Civil Commitment statute, either a police officer or a mental health professional can involuntarily detain a person for up to 72 hours to a locked unit of an Evaluation and Treatment (E and T) Facility. A hospital then has 72 hours (not counting weekends and holidays) to decide whether to petition the court to involuntarily detain the person for the next 14 days. During this 14-day period, the hospital further evaluates and treats the individual. If the hospital continues to feel the person needs further hospitalization, the hospital may petition to detain the person for the next 90-day period. At the end of 90 days, the hospital may decide to petition to detain the individual for the next 180 days. The longest period an individual may be held under a court order without another hearing is 180 days.

Client Rights

At the 14-, 90- and 180-day hearings, an individual has the right to be represented by an attorney. By contract, the DAC Civil Commitment Office is assigned to represent all individuals at these hearings; if an individual has sufficient funds they may hire a private attorney of their choosing.