If you were ordered by the California justice system to be put on a 5250 hold, it is possible to have that ruling overturned, but there is a complicated legal process to do so.
Under California Welfare and Institutions Code 5250, there is a 14-day hold, or custody lasting for 14 days, as well as a five-year ban on owning, possessing, controlling, receiving, or purchasing any firearm for anyone certified for intensive mental health treatment. With the assistance of a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, however, you can petition the court to lift the 5250 hold.
What Is a 5150 Hold, the Precursor to a 5250 Hold?
According to California law, a “5150 hold” occurs when police officers and mental health professionals take someone into custody with a mental illness that they think may cause harm to themselves or others. This person will be taken into custody for up to 72 hours of treatment and be prohibited to own or purchase a firearm for five years. If the person undergoes a second 5150 hold within one year, the ban is for life.
The conditions of a 5150 hold include:
- You are a danger to yourself, and have threatened self-harm or attempted suicide.
- You are a danger to others, making threats or attempting to harm them.
- You have a severe disability, where you are incapacitated and unable to care for your basic needs.
For a free legal consultation, call (310) 896-2723
What Is a 5250 Hold?
If you are unwilling or unable to accept the 72-hour treatment, or 5150 hold, mental health professionals can petition for an additional hold for up to 14 days, which is called a 5250 hold.
Do You Have a Right to a Hearing to Overturn a 5250 Hold?
Yes, you have a right to a hearing. In fact, the mental health facility holding you in custody is required to inform you of this right before or during discharge by providing you with a copy of the most recent Request for Hearing for Relief from Firearms Prohibition form given by the California Department of Justice.
Click to contact our Criminal Defense Lawyers today
What Are Your Rights in a Hearing to Overturn a 5250 Hold?
If you have been placed on a 5150 hold and the professionals at your mental health treatment want to keep you in custody for more than 72 hours for a 5250 hold, you have the right to have a Certification Review Hearing.
Your rights leading up to and during the hearing also include:
- The right to be represented by a criminal defense attorney, who will give evidence that supports your case.
- The right to a written notice from the facility that lists the specific reasons you are being held longer, along with a patient’s rights advocate who explains your legal rights.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
What Happens in a 5250 Hold Hearing?
Unlike typical criminal court hearings, a hearing to overturn a 5250 hold is less formal. This is so all parties involved can openly voice and discuss the certification, and whether or not the person in hold wants treatment and should receive more treatment.
Required to happen within four days of the 14-day hold, the Certification Review Hearing from a neutral party will examine if there is strong enough evidence to keep you at the mental health facility against your will. If there is insufficient evidence, the facility will be forced to overturn the 5250 hold and let you go.
What Are the Possible Outcomes of a 5250 Hold?
There are several possible outcomes for someone subject to a 5250 hold, which include:
- The person in question will sign the certification as a voluntary patient agreeing to mental health treatment.
- The mental health facility determines that the patient needs more treatment, and the patient is placed on an involuntary 5250 hold.
- The patient may be released before the 14-day hold by a staff member at the facility as a result of a certification review hearing or after a habeas corpus hearing, which involves the plaintiff asking a judge to review whether or not their rights were violated throughout the process.
- The plaintiff may be referred to the Office of the Public Guardian for a conservatorship.
What Can You Do to Avoid a 5250 Hold?
The ultimate goal for you to avoid a 5250 hold is to prove that the reason you were first placed on a 5150 hold is not a concern any longer.
A few tips to show that you should be released from the treatment facility include:
- If the hold was for being a danger to others, do not be argumentative or belligerent with anyone around you, and try not to touch anyone unless permitted while at the facility. Try to be respectful.
- If the hold was for being a danger to yourself, do not make any suicidal threats during the hold or after your release.
- If the hold was for a grave disability, show staff that you can eat, sleep, and clean yourself regularly while at the treatment facility.
Another helpful tip is to have a friend or family member submit a letter in writing to the court explaining how they are willing to help you with treatment.
What Are Your Rights During a 72-Hour Hold?
An involuntary 72-hour hold, or 5150 hold, is not a criminal arrest, so you have certain rights while being taken into custody and detained, such as:
- You should be notified by the person taking you into custody that you may make a phone call to let someone know where you have been taken.
- You are allowed to gather personal items to bring with you, and those taking you into the 5150 hold must also take precautions to protect your property while in custody.
- You have the right to accept or reject antipsychotic medications, which can only be given after information on the effects and side effects have been provided by a doctor. Medications may be given involuntarily in emergencies.
- You should receive a written copy of the petition that explains why you are being held for evaluation and a 5150 hold.
- You must be evaluated by a mental health hospital immediately, which includes a closer look into your psychological, medical, social, financial, educational, and legal conditions.
Why Do You Need an Attorney to Overturn a 5250 Hold?
An experienced attorney is your safeguard to ensuring that your legal rights are protected during a tricky 5250 hold case.
Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer that will stand as an advocate for those with mental illness to prove they are not a threat to themselves or others, and understand how law enforcement and mental health professionals may jump to conclusions about symptoms and certain situations.
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form