Three-Party Petitions for Involuntary Commitment for Alcohol must be initiated by three adult signers, one which must be a medical professional. All signers are required to fill out a questionnaire and return it to our office for review and consideration.
Click here (PDF) for the questionnaire devised to assist our office in evaluating the legal merits of your request for a three-party commitment alleging alcohol dependence. Please complete it carefully by reciting recent and specific words or actions which, in your opinion, support your contention that the person you seek to commit is alcohol dependent and in need of treatment.
PLEASE NOTE: A medical professional is required to be one of the three petitioners. The medical professional must be willing to contribute information to the Petition, regarding the physical impairment/health condition the subject individual is suffering due to his/her alcohol use. Further, the medical professional will be required to testify at all required court hearings (by phone is acceptable if not available in person).
Please provide first-hand examples of recent words or actions fitting the legal element on each page of the questionnaire. Elements include:
- The individual habitually lacks self-control as to the use of alcoholic beverages and that the pattern of conduct has existed for at least 12 months preceding the time of the petition.
- The individual uses alcoholic beverages to the extent that the individual's health is substantially impaired or endangered to a reasonable degree of medical certainty (medical professional testimony).
- The individual uses alcoholic beverages to the extent that the individual's social or economic function is substantially disrupted.
Upon completion, return the questionnaires to our office for review and consideration. Should it be determined that the facts meet the statutory baseline requisite for the filing of a petition, we will arrange a meeting in our office in order to further discuss and/or sign the necessary court papers. Please note, nothing will be done by this office to evaluate the allegations and court proceedings will not be initiated unless and until all three petitioners’ questionnaires are completed and returned to our office.
The involuntary commitment process involves two court hearings: a probable cause hearing and a final hearing. Please be aware that should we proceed to a probable cause hearing, the subject will be located, detained by law enforcement, and transported to North Central Health Care Center (or another facility as designated) until the time of the hearing. All petitioners will be required to testify in court in front of the subject. All petitioners will be cross-examined by the subject’s attorney regarding the contents of the petition. The attorney will be provided by the Public Defender.
If the court finds probable cause to believe the allegations in the petition, the subject is typically returned to the facility to be examined by a court-appointed examiner and await a final hearing. Should the subject demand a jury trial, all three petitioners should plan to commit a full-day to the trial. Again, this will involve testimony and cross-examination under oath. It is after this final hearing that a person may be committed for involuntary treatment. Please note that because the law requires that persons be treated in the least restrictive treatment environment consistent with their needs, subjects are often ready for release to outpatient care following this hearing. There is no minimum inpatient stay associated with this process.
Finally, the law provides for Emergency Detention by law enforcement of persons alleged to be alcohol dependent where the subject poses a significant risk of dangerousness to him/herself or to others. Should the subject threaten harm to him/herself or others at any time during this process, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1- or local law enforcement personnel. This is the quickest way to initiate commitment proceedings.