Mr. Critchlow is experienced with civil involuntary mental health committment proceedings. These are civil proceedings in which the local, state and/or federal governments have received evidence that your current mental health status is likely to result in you being an unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or others. Your family members can also sometimes succeed in having you civilly committed in their own private action and many times family members are usually the most credible witnesses due your longstanding history with them. In any of these situations you may be retained your against your will for unknown and undetermined periods of time. Since these are civil and not criminal proceedings, these governments have a much lower burden of proof when presenting their case that you are an unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or others if you are allowed to roam the community at large. You have certain legal rights to go in front of a court official (usually a court commissioner) after you are involuntarily detained by them. The government may present evidence to keep you for an initial 14 day observation period.
You have the right to an attorney and an attorney should be retained at the very earliest opportunity. An attorney can negotiate your release by way of a "Least Restrictive Conditions of Release" order which means that you would be released from custody provided that you agree to abide by certain conditions such as supervision by a family member or other responsible person, taking of any legally prescribed medications, regular attendance at psychological counseling meetings, sessions or classes, etc. If the authorities will not agree to your immediate release even with such conditions your case then moves on to the more serious level of permanent committment proceedings. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE A LAWYER AT THESE PROCEEDINGS since these are the hearings where decisions are made to involuntarily committ you on a permanent basis. And, unlike the criminal justice system there are very subjective standards as to how long you can be committed or when you must be released if they decide a permanent committment is necessary. You should always have a lawyer if you find youself in such a perilous situation.