Emergency Services

Emergency Services is a code-mandated service providing pre-admission screening assessments to anyone physically located in the state of Virginia and who is identified as experiencing a behavioral health crisis that meets the code mandated criteria for involuntary commitment. DBHDS manages the certification program for those persons eligible to provide these assessments. The assessment and actions of those completing them are governed by the Code of Virginia, Chapter 37.2.

Emergency Custody (ECO)

In Virginia, a person may be taken into emergency custody by any law enforcement officer based on their own observations or the reports of reliable witnesses or based on a petition submitted to a magistrate to have an individual evaluated for a Temporary Detention Order. ECOs are good for eight (8) hours. Magistrates may issue an ECO or decline to issue if the petition does not support the criteria outlined in the Virginia Code.

Issuance/Execution of Order https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/37.2-808/

Involuntary Temporary Detention (TDO)

In Virginia, a  magistrate may issue a TDO based on a petition with the facts supporting the criteria for TDO in Virginia Code. For adults, the TDO may last up to 72 hours unless the order expires on a weekend, holiday or other day the court is closed. In this situation the order may be extended to the next day the court is open. The magistrate reviews the petition and decides to issue or decline to issue the TDO based upon the facts presented.

Involuntary Temporary Detention; Issuance and Execution of Order https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title37.2/chapter8/section37.2-809/

Admission Procedures

Any person alleged to have a mental illness to a degree that warrants treatment in a facility may be admitted to a facility by compliance with one of the following admission procedures:

Transportation of Persons in the Temporary Detention Process

The magistrate will designate the law enforcement agency responsible to execute the temporary detention order or an appropriate, willing and available alternative transportation provider to transport persons to the facility of temporary detention.https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title37.2/chapter8/section37.2-810/

Codes Pertaining to Youths

§16.1-338 Parental admission of minors younger than 14 and nonobjecting minors 14 years of age or older https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title16.1/chapter11/section16.1-338/

§16.1-339 Parental admission of an objecting minor 14 years of age or older https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title16.1/chapter11/section16.1-339/

§16.1 -340 Emergency custody; issuance and execution of order for minors https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title16.1/chapter11/section16.1-340/

§16.1-340.1 Involuntary temporary detention; issuance and execution of order https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title16.1/chapter11/section16.1-340.1/

§16.1-340.1:1 Facility of temporary detention for minors https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title16.1/chapter11/section16.1-340.1:1/

§16.1-340.2 Transportation of minor in the temporary detention process https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title16.1/chapter11/section16.1-340.2/