How will the court decide what to do?

The court will review medical facts (evidence) from the exam and other evidence that relates to the case.

The court can order commitment only if both of the following are true:

  • There is a medical diagnosis of alcoholism or substance abuse
  • A likelihood of serious harm to the subject or others as a result of the substance abuse exists.

Likelihood of Serious Harm Clarification

To meet the criteria for civil commitment, likelihood of serious harm must exceed what harm can be reasonably assumed to exist, when any individual abuses alcohol or other drugs. The statute defines likelihood of serious harm as the following:

  • A substantial risk of physical harm to the person as manifested by evidence of, threats of, or attempts at, suicide or serious bodily harm
  • A substantial risk of physical harm to other persons as manifested by evidence of homicidal or other violent behavior or evidence that others are placed in reasonable fear of violent behavior and serious physical harm to them
  • A very substantial risk of physical impairment or injury to the person himself as manifested by evidence that such person's judgment is so effected that he is unable to protect himself in the community and that reasonable provision for his protection is not available in the community (GLC 123 Section 1)

Additional Information

The likelihood of serious harm must be directly related to the substance abuse and must be a current threat.

Show All Answers

1. Is a Section 35 the only option?
2. How do I get someone committed to treatment under Section 35?
3. What happens once a petition is filed with the court?
4. How will the court decide what to do?
5. What happens next if the court orders her/him to be committed?
6. What kind of help will an individual receive?
7. What if she/he is too sick to go to a detoxification program?
8. What if they have a co-occurring mental health problem?
9. How long will the commitment be for?
10. Will a Section 35 commitment cure her/his alcohol or drug problem?
11. Can I go back to court if she/he drinks or uses other drugs again?