CALIFORNIA WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE, SECTION 5150, second paragraph, “… an application in writing stating the circumstances under which the person’s condition was called to the attention of the officer, member of the attending staff, or professional person, and stating that the officer, member of the attending staff, or professional person has probable cause to believe that the person is, as a result of mental disorder, a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled.”
What is a 5150 hold?
Section 5150, is a section in the California Welfare and Institutions Code which allows a qualified officer or clinician to involuntarily (against their will) confine a person who is deemed to have a mental disorder that makes him or her a danger to themselves or others. A 5150 hold is very similar to a Baker Act but in the state of California.
When section 5150 states a “qualified officer” what they mean is any California peace officer. As for the “clinician”, section 5150 means any designated county clinician. This means that either of these two can request the confinement of an individual after signing a written declaration.
Just like when someone on the east coast is Baker “acted”, someone can also be 5150’ed. In fact when 5150 is used as a term it is pronounced (fifty-one-fifty) it can informally refer to the person who is being confined or the act or declaration itself.
The details of a 5150 hold
The 5150 hold allows someone to be held up to 72 hours against their will. Once a request for a 5150 is filled out by a qualified officer or clinician there is no guarantee that the individual for whom the 5150 is being requested has to stay. The admission of a request just gets the person in the door of the facility they may or may not be staying at for at least 72 hours. After being admitted to the facility the individual will be assessed by the staff there who will decided and determine whether or not a 5150 is appropriate. This is a pre-assessment and just keeps the person there until they can see a mental health professional.
If the staff at the facility find that a 5150 is appropriate, then during the period of confinement, the confined person will be evaluated by a mental health professional also to determine if they should be admitted into a psychiatric unit. If it is found that the individual should be admitted then only the mental health professional (psychiatrist) can remove the 5150 hold. If the 5150 hold didn’t get removed than after the 72 hours are up the psychiatrist will assess the person again and might offer a choice to be voluntarily admitted. If they refuse then another hold for up to two weeks must be requested. At this point the individual will step in front of a judge or hearing officer to see if probably cause exists to support the now 5250.
A 5150 is not supposed to be used to hold a person who has been reported by anyone other than a qualified officer or clinician. But the 5150 does allow a police officer to detain a subject when the officer has observed some of the symptoms that would qualify them to request a 5150.
A 5150 can also be used to hold a person who is severely inebriated in the “drunk” tank. The person can be released when they are sober.
If your loved one is in need of addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.