When a patient presents to a psychiatric screening service, the service has 24 hours to issue a screening certificate to the patient being detained when the purpose of the screening involves an involuntary commitment. N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.5. For involuntary held patients, the facility has “72 hours from the time a screening certificate is executed” to either release the patient or “initiate” a request for a court order to involuntarily hold the individual. (R. 4:74-7(b)(1); N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.9(c). In seeking a court order, the facility must submit, “a clinical certificate completed by a psychiatrist on the patient’s treatment team or an electronically scanned clinical certificate in lieu of the original certificate.” N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.10(a)(1).
The above cited statute reads as follows:
“the process in place allows a facility to hold an individual for twenty-four hours while a screening service ‘provid[es] . . . treatment and conduct[s] [an] assessment.” N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.5(a). If – after performing an examination – a psychiatrist finds a need for involuntary commitment, a screening certificate must be completed. N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.5(b). The facility may then ‘detain’ the individual ‘involuntarily by referral from a screening service without a temporary court order,’ but ‘for no more than 72 hours from the time the screening certificate is executed.’ N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.9(c). Accord N.J.A.C. 10:31.2-3(g); R. 4:74-7(b)(1). During that seventy-two hour period, the facility must initiate involuntary committal court proceedings. N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.9(c).”
Although the statute does not impose a specific time for the court to decide whether to hold or release the patient, the statute does say that the court must proceed “immediately.” N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.10(f). The fact that liberty is at stake warrants a summary consideration subject to a full hearing within twenty days. N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.12(a).
If you are looking for additional details on this topic or if you require advice about your situation, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at email@example.com. Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.
By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Mental Health Law Attorney