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Mental Health / Civil Commitments

The Mental Health / Civil Commitment area of the Probate Court Division is responsible for committing people to treatment centers. Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 253B governs this process. 

There are six types of civil commitment proceedings: 
  1. Mentally Ill persons (MI) – Persons who are mentally ill and as a result pose a danger to themselves or others;
  2. Developmentally Disabled persons (DD) - Persons who are developmentally disabled and as a result pose a danger to themselves or others;
  3. Chemically Dependent persons (CD) - Persons who are chemically dependent, unable to manage personal affairs, and as a result, pose a danger to themselves or others; 
  4. Persons Mentally Ill and Dangerous to the Public (MI&D) – Persons who are mentally ill and as a result, have caused or intended to cause serious physical harm to another and are likely to take such action in the future;
  5. Sexual Psychopathic Personalities (SPP) – Persons who have an utter lack of power to control their sexual impulses as the result of a mental disorder and therefore pose a danger to the public; and 
  6. Sexually Dangerous Persons (SDP) – Persons who have a mental disorder who have engaged in and are likely to continue to engage in harmful sexual conduct. 
For more information and training resources, visit the Office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities’ website
Any person may ask the county to do an investigation into whether someone is in need of commitment. Often times, it is the hospital where someone might be staying or receiving care that makes this request. When requested, a county screening team gathers information about the person’s condition and decides whether to recommend a commitment to the County Attorney, who, based on the screening information, may prepare a petition for commitment and file it with the court. 

Once a petition is filed with the court, a preliminary hearing is scheduled within 72 hours (not counting weekends and legal holidays). The court will appoint an attorney to represent the person involved in the commitment petition throughout the process, unless that person hires their own attorney. 

After due process and input from medical professionals, the court must make a decision about whether someone should be committed or not. As part of this process, the judge considers whether the requirements for commitment under the law have been met and whether there is a less restrictive alternative.

If the judge commits someone to treatment, it is typically for a six month period. The case is then reviewed with a hearing to determine whether the commitment should be extended. The exception to this is cases involving Mentally Ill and Dangerous Persons, Sexual Psychopathic Personalities, or Sexually Dangerous Persons. In those cases, there is not an end date to the commitment period; instead, periodic reviews are conducted by the court to determine whether the commitment continues to be necessary.

If you want to ask the court to expunge or seal your records from Commitment Court so that the general public cannot view them, you can file a Motion to Seal the Records
If you want to ask the court to expunge or seal your records from Commitment Court so that the general public cannot view them, you can file a Motion to Seal the Records