Pennsylvania Statutes Title 50 P.S. Mental Health § 7301. Persons who may be subject to involuntary emergency examination and treatment

(a) Persons Subject.--Whenever a person is severely mentally disabled and in need of immediate treatment, he may be made subject to involuntary emergency examination and treatment.  A person is severely mentally disabled when, as a result of mental illness, his capacity to exercise self-control, judgment and discretion in the conduct of his affairs and social relations or to care for his own personal needs is so lessened that he poses a clear and present danger of harm to others or to himself, as defined in subsection (b), or the person is determined to be in need of assisted outpatient treatment as defined in subsection (c).

(b) Determination of Clear and Present Danger.--(1)  Clear and present danger to others shall be shown by establishing that within the past 30 days the person has inflicted or attempted to inflict serious bodily harm on another and that there is a reasonable probability that such conduct will be repeated.  If, however, the person has been found incompetent to be tried or has been acquitted by reason of lack of criminal responsibility on charges arising from conduct involving infliction of or attempt to inflict substantial bodily harm on another, such 30-day limitation shall not apply so long as an application for examination and treatment is filed within 30 days after the date of such determination or verdict.  In such case, a clear and present danger to others may be shown by establishing that the conduct charged in the criminal proceeding did occur, and that there is a reasonable probability that such conduct will be repeated.  For the purpose of this section, a clear and present danger of harm to others may be demonstrated by proof that the person has made threats of harm and has committed acts in furtherance of the threat to commit harm.

(2) Clear and present danger to himself shall be shown by establishing that within the past 30 days:

(i) the person has acted in such manner as to evidence that he would be unable, without care, supervision and the continued assistance of others, to satisfy his need for nourishment, personal or medical care, shelter, or self-protection and safety, and that there is a reasonable probability that death, serious bodily injury or serious physical debilitation would ensue within 30 days unless adequate treatment were afforded under this act;  or

(ii) the person has attempted suicide and that there is the reasonable probability of suicide unless adequate treatment is afforded under this act.  For the purposes of this subsection, a clear and present danger may be demonstrated by the proof that the person has made threats to commit suicide and has committed acts which are in furtherance of the threat to commit suicide;  or

(iii) the person has substantially mutilated himself or attempted to mutilate himself substantially and that there is the reasonable probability of mutilation unless adequate treatment is afforded under this act.  For the purposes of this subsection, a clear and present danger shall be established by proof that the person has made threats to commit mutilation and has committed acts which are in furtherance of the threat to commit mutilation.

(c) Determination of Need for Assisted Outpatient Treatment.--(1) The need for assisted outpatient treatment shall be shown by establishing by clear and convincing evidence that the person would benefit from assisted outpatient treatment as manifested by evidence of behavior that indicates all of the following:

(i) The person is unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision, based on a clinical determination.

(ii) The person has a history of lack of voluntary adherence to treatment for mental illness and one of the following applies:

(A) Within the 12 months prior to the filing of a petition seeking assisted outpatient treatment, the person's failure to adhere to treatment has been a significant factor in necessitating involuntary inpatient hospitalization or receipt of services in a forensic or other mental health unit of a correctional facility, provided that the 12-month period shall be extended by the length of any hospitalization or incarceration of the person in a correctional institution that occurred within the 12-month period.

(B) Within the 48 months prior to the filing of a petition seeking court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment, the person's failure to adhere to treatment resulted in one or more acts of serious violent behavior toward others or himself or threats of, or attempts at, serious physical harm to others or himself, provided that the 48-month period shall be extended by the length of any hospitalization or incarceration of the person in a correctional institution that occurred within the 48-month period.

(iii) The person, as a result of the person's mental illness, is unlikely to voluntarily participate in necessary treatment and the person previously has been offered voluntary treatment services but has not accepted or has refused to participate on a sustained basis in voluntary treatment, provided that voluntary agreement to enter into services by a person during the pendency of a petition for assisted outpatient treatment shall not preclude the court from ordering assisted outpatient treatment for that person if reasonable evidence exists to believe that the person is unlikely to make a voluntary sustained commitment to and remain in a treatment program.

(iv) Based on the person's treatment history and current behavior, the person is in need of treatment in order to prevent a relapse or deterioration that would be likely to result in substantial risk of serious harm to others or himself.

(2) An individual who meets only the criteria described in clause (1) shall not be subject to involuntary inpatient hospitalization unless a separate determination is made that the individual poses a clear and present danger in accordance with subsection (b).


FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.

FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.

Copied to clipboard