A. Any magistrate shall issue, upon the sworn petition of a minor’s treating physician or parent or, if the parent is not available or is unable or unwilling to file a petition, by any responsible adult, including the person having custody over a minor in detention or shelter care pursuant to an order of a juvenile and domestic relations district court, or upon his own motion, an emergency custody order when he has probable cause to believe that (i) because of mental illness, the minor (a) presents a serious danger to himself or others to the extent that severe or irremediable injury is likely to result, as evidenced by recent acts or threats, or (b) is experiencing a serious deterioration of his ability to care for himself in a developmentally age-appropriate manner, as evidenced by delusionary thinking or by a significant impairment of functioning in hydration, nutrition, self-protection, or self-control; and (ii) the minor is in need of compulsory treatment for a mental illness and is reasonably likely to benefit from the proposed treatment. Any emergency custody order entered pursuant to this section shall provide for the disclosure of medical records pursuant to subsection B of § 16.1-337. This subsection shall not preclude any other disclosures as required or permitted by law. To the extent possible, the petition shall contain the information required by § 16.1-339.1.When considering whether there is probable cause to issue an emergency custody order, the magistrate may, in addition to the petition, consider (1) the recommendations of any treating or examining physician or psychologist licensed in Virginia, if available, (2) any past actions of the minor, (3) any past mental health treatment of the minor, (4) any relevant hearsay evidence, (5) any medical records available, (6) any affidavits submitted, if the witness is unavailable and it so states in the affidavit, and (7) any other information available that the magistrate considers relevant to the determination of whether probable cause exists to issue an emergency custody order.
B. Any minor for whom an emergency custody order is issued shall be taken into custody and transported to a convenient location to be evaluated to determine whether he meets the criteria for temporary detention pursuant to § 16.1-340.1 and to assess the need for hospitalization or treatment. The evaluation shall be made by a person designated by the community services board serving the area in which the minor is located who is skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and who has completed a certification program approved by the Department.
C. The magistrate issuing an emergency custody order shall specify the primary law-enforcement agency and jurisdiction to execute the emergency custody order and provide transportation. However, the magistrate may authorize transportation by an alternative transportation provider, including a parent, family member, or friend of the minor who is the subject of the order, a representative of the community services board, or other transportation provider with personnel trained to provide transportation in a safe manner, upon determining, following consideration of information provided by the petitioner; the community services board or its designee; the local law-enforcement agency, if any; the minor’s treating physician, if any; or other persons who are available and have knowledge of the minor, and, when the magistrate deems appropriate, the proposed alternative transportation provider, either in person or via two-way electronic video and audio or telephone communication system, that the proposed alternative transportation provider is available to provide transportation, willing to provide transportation, and able to provide transportation in a safe manner. When transportation is ordered to be provided by an alternative transportation provider, the magistrate shall order the specified primary law-enforcement agency to execute the order, to take the minor into custody, and to transfer custody of the minor to the alternative transportation provider identified in the order. In such cases, a copy of the emergency custody order shall accompany the minor being transported pursuant to this section at all times and shall be delivered by the alternative transportation provider to the community services board or its designee responsible for conducting the evaluation. The community services board or its designee conducting the evaluation shall return a copy of the emergency custody order to the court designated by the magistrate as soon as is practicable. Delivery of an order to a law-enforcement officer or alternative transportation provider and return of an order to the court may be accomplished electronically or by facsimile.Transportation under this section shall include transportation to a medical facility as may be necessary to obtain emergency medical evaluation or treatment that shall be conducted immediately in accordance with state and federal law. Transportation under this section shall include transportation to a medical facility for a medical evaluation if a physician at the hospital in which the minor subject to the emergency custody order may be detained requires a medical evaluation prior to admission.
D. In specifying the primary law-enforcement agency and jurisdiction for purposes of this section, the magistrate shall order the primary law-enforcement agency from the jurisdiction served by the community services board that designated the person to perform the evaluation required in subsection B to execute the order and, in cases in which transportation is ordered to be provided by the primary law-enforcement agency, provide transportation. If the community services board serves more than one jurisdiction, the magistrate shall designate the primary law-enforcement agency from the particular jurisdiction within the community services board’s service area where the minor who is the subject of the emergency custody order was taken into custody or, if the minor has not yet been taken into custody, the primary law-enforcement agency from the jurisdiction where the minor is presently located to execute the order and provide transportation.
E. The law-enforcement agency or alternative transportation provider providing transportation pursuant to this section may transfer custody of the minor to the facility or location to which the minor is transported for the evaluation required in subsection B, G, or H if the facility or location (i) is licensed to provide the level of security necessary to protect both the minor and others from harm, (ii) is actually capable of providing the level of security necessary to protect the minor and others from harm, and (iii) in cases in which transportation is provided by a law-enforcement agency, has entered into an agreement or memorandum of understanding with the law-enforcement agency setting forth the terms and conditions under which it will accept a transfer of custody, provided, however, that the facility or location may not require the law-enforcement agency to pay any fees or costs for the transfer of custody.
F. A law-enforcement officer may lawfully go or be sent beyond the territorial limits of the county, city, or town in which he serves to any point in the Commonwealth for the purpose of executing an emergency custody order pursuant to this section.
G. A law-enforcement officer who, based upon his observation or the reliable reports of others, has probable cause to believe that a minor meets the criteria for emergency custody as stated in this section may take that minor into custody and transport that minor to an appropriate location to assess the need for hospitalization or treatment without prior authorization. A law-enforcement officer who takes a person into custody pursuant to this subsection or subsection H may lawfully go or be sent beyond the territorial limits of the county, city, or town in which he serves to any point in the Commonwealth for the purpose of obtaining the assessment. Such evaluation shall be conducted immediately. The period of custody shall not exceed eight hours from the time the law-enforcement officer takes the minor into custody.
H. A law-enforcement officer who is transporting a minor who has voluntarily consented to be transported to a facility for the purpose of assessment or evaluation and who is beyond the territorial limits of the county, city, or town in which he serves may take such minor into custody and transport him to an appropriate location to assess the need for hospitalization or treatment without prior authorization when the law-enforcement officer determines (i) that the minor has revoked consent to be transported to a facility for the purpose of assessment or evaluation and (ii) based upon his observations, that probable cause exists to believe that the minor meets the criteria for emergency custody as stated in this section. The period of custody shall not exceed eight hours from the time the law-enforcement officer takes the minor into custody.
I. A representative of the primary law-enforcement agency specified to execute an emergency custody order or a representative of the law-enforcement agency employing a law-enforcement officer who takes a person into custody pursuant to subsection G or H shall notify the community services board responsible for conducting the evaluation required in subsection B, G, or H as soon as practicable after execution of the emergency custody order or after the person has been taken into custody pursuant to subsection G or H.
J. Nothing herein shall preclude a law-enforcement officer or alternative transportation provider from obtaining emergency medical treatment or further medical evaluation at any time for a minor in his custody as provided in this section.
K. The minor shall remain in custody until a temporary detention order is issued, until the minor is released, or until the emergency custody order expires. An emergency custody order shall be valid for a period not to exceed eight hours from the time of execution.
L. If an emergency custody order is not executed within eight hours of its issuance, the order shall be void and shall be returned unexecuted to the office of the clerk of the issuing court or, if such office is not open, to any magistrate serving the jurisdiction of the issuing court.
M. In addition to the eight-hour period of emergency custody set forth in subsection G, H, or K, if the minor is detained in a state facility pursuant to subsection D of § 16.1-340.1, the state facility and an employee or designee of the community services board may, for an additional four hours, continue to attempt to identify an alternative facility that is able and willing to provide temporary detention and appropriate care to the minor.
N. Payments shall be made pursuant to § 37.2-804 to licensed health care providers for medical screening and assessment services provided to minors with mental illnesses while in emergency custody.
O. No person who provides alternative transportation pursuant to this section shall be liable to the person being transported for any civil damages for ordinary negligence in acts or omissions that result from providing such alternative transportation.
1990, c. 975; 1991, c. 159; 1992, c. 884; 2000, cc. 65, 246; 2001, c. 837; 2004, c. 283; 2005, c. 346; 2006, c. 401; 2008, cc. 783, 808; 2009, cc. 455, 555; 2010, cc. 778, 825; 2011, c. 249; 2014, cc. 691, 761; 2015, cc. 297, 308.