Involuntary Commitment Procedures During Office Hours
In order to ensure that the Dorchester County Probate Court is fulfilling its statutory and Constitutional role in the initial stages of the commitment process for persons alleged to be chemically dependent or mentally ill, and with due regard for the convenience of family members and agency personnel, the following procedures shall be effective immediately
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Emergencies
The Dorchester County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse shall provide intake evaluation and screening for Judicial commitment requests occurring during normal office hours only. A Judicial Commitment is a commitment that is set into place after an application has been filed with the Probate Court and the person has been examined by two designated examiners who have been appointed by the Court and a hearing has been held. Family members who are seeking help for alleged chemically dependent family members should contact the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission to determine whether this procedure would apply in their situation. [(843)871-4790]
Mental Illness/ Alcohol and Drug Abuse Emergencies
(Adults 18 years old or older or a child sixteen or older): The Dorchester County Mental Health Clinic shall provide intake evaluation and screening for all Mentally Ill Emergency Commitment and all Emergency Chemically Dependent Commitment requests occurring during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The person seeking the emergency commitment of another shall be directed to call the Dorchester County Mental Health Clinic to speak directly with a counselor who will then assist the person over the phone on what procedure to follow (Do not come to the Probate Court first, go to the appropriate mental health center before coming to Probate Court). If there is a need for an emergency admission, then the family member will be advised to come in and complete an application for Emergency Admission for either Mental Illness or Chemically dependency. In the event the person alleged to be chemically dependent or mentally ill refuses to go to the hospital for an examination voluntarily and cannot be lawfully transported on other grounds, then the Probate Court will be contacted by the appropriate facility for an issuance of Order of Detention. This Order of Detention gives the Sheriff Department or Law Enforcement offices authority to take the person into custody and transport the patient to the Dorchester County Mental Health Clinic for an examination or to Trident Emergency Room, which ever is convenient at the time after receiving the proper paperwork from the Petitioner or family member. The Probate Court holds hearings once a week for emergency commitments on Thursday and twice a month for Judicial commitments, second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
Please take note of the telephone numbers listed below for your convenience:
For these simplified procedures to be effective, however, Law enforcement officers must steer family members in the right direction. Please ask family members to use the procedures which have been implemented above. If these instructions are unclear, we invite you to contact the Probate Court and speak with Rebecca Marchant (832-0253).