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Mental Health Commitments - Emergency Detention Orders

The commitment of an individual requires adherence to the temporary commitment procedures codified in the Texas Mental Health Code. Thus, certain paperwork must be on file before the Court can issue an Order to restrain a mentally ill individual who presents an immediate and substantial risk of serious harm to themselves or others. The warrant orders a person to undergo a mental health evaluation by a doctor to determine if hospitalization is necessary.  The Texas Mental Health Code provides a process for the State to protect the public safety interest while balancing the individual’s right to refuse treatment.

If the person is actively attempting to commit suicide or has become violent, immediately call 9-1-1.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can fill out an application for a mental health warrant?

Anyone over the age of 18 who has been in contact with the person in need of treatment within the last 72 hours.

It is a criminal offense to knowingly falsify any information in the Application for a Mental Health Warrant. Therefore, only first-hand information should be included on the application.

Who can grant (sign) a mental health warrant?

Only a Judge can grant mental health warrant. The County Attorney’s office can assist with the Application, but a Judge makes the final decision.

What does a mental health warrant do?

A mental health warrant allows a law enforcement agency to detain a person and take that person to a mental health hospital for an evaluation.

What information do I need to provide in order to obtain a mental health warrant?

The main information needed in order to obtain a mental health warrant is how the person in need of treatment is an immediate and substantial risk of serious harm to themselves or others.


Does a mental health warrant keep someone in the hospital for a set length of time?

No, the mental health warrant only allows for law enforcement to transport a person to a mental health hospital for evaluation.

The person may be held at the facility for up to 48 hours for this purpose unless the time ends on a weekend or holiday in which case the ending time is extended. When the person no longer meets the criteria for detention, then they are discharged. Most patients are discharged within the first 48 hours.

Should a physician determine that the person needs to remain as an in-patient for a longer period, then the physician may request an Order for Protective Custody, which would allow the patient to be detained for another 72 hours.

Who decides when a patient is discharged on an emergency detention order?

The treating physician decides when a patient should be released from the involuntary mental health commitment order. The Judge does not decide when the patient should be released.

If the person in need of treatment is not currently within Aransas County, what do I do?

You should contact the proper office in the county where the person is currently located.

When can I fill out an application for a mental health warrant?

Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during days that Aransas County is open for business.

How can I get a mentally ill minor/ward admitted to a psychiatric facility?

A parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a minor may consent to the voluntary admission of the child/ward to an inpatient mental health facility. In Texas, a child 16 or older may consent to admission to a hospital.

What if a person needs treatment but has a pending criminal case?

If an attorney has already been appointed to represent the person in the criminal case, please contact that attorney and work through them.

Can a family member or friend request the court to order someone to take their medication?

No, only a physician can request the court to forcibly medicate a person  AND the patient must be under an order to receive inpatient mental health services or be in custody awaiting trial in a criminal proceeding after being ordered to receive inpatient mental health services in the previous six months. For more information click here.

What do I do if the office is closed and I need assistance?

Call 9-1-1.

If a person is currently in the act of endangering themselves or others, what do I do?

Call 9-1-1 immediately