A Petition for Involuntary Assessment may be filed when there is good faith reason to believe an individual is substance-abuse impaired and because of that impairment, has lost the power of self-control with respect to substance use. The Petition is filed with the Clerk of Court and must be set for hearing within 10 days. Notice of hearing is provided by mail to the petitioners. The patient is served notice of hearing by a plainclothes Deputy Sheriff.
A General Master presides at the hearing. After hearing all relevant testimony, the court may enter an Order for Involuntary Assessment. Unless arrangements have been made for assessment at a private facility, the court order shall direct the Sheriff's Office to take the patient into custody and deliver him/her to a public facility licensed by the Department of Children and Families.
The facility will assess and stabilize the patient for a period not to exceed 5 days. A written assessment is sent to the court. Once the written assessment is received, the court may proceed with the Petition For Involuntary Treatment.