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Sec. 573.012: Issuance of Warrant

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (h), an applicant for emergency detention must present the application personally to a judge or magistrate. The judge or magistrate shall examine the application and may interview the applicant. Except as provided by Subsection (g), the judge of a court with probate jurisdiction by administrative order may provide that the application must be:

(1) presented personally to the court; or

(2) retained by court staff and presented to another judge or magistrate as soon as is practicable if the judge of the court is not available at the time the application is presented.

(b) The magistrate shall deny the application unless the magistrate finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that:

(1) the person evidences mental illness;

(2) the person evidences a substantial risk of serious harm to himself or others;

(3) the risk of harm is imminent unless the person is immediately restrained; and

(4) the necessary restraint cannot be accomplished without emergency detention.

(c) A substantial risk of serious harm to the person or others under Subsection (b)(2) may be demonstrated by:

(1) the person's behavior; or

(2) evidence of severe emotional distress and deterioration in the person's mental condition to the extent that the person cannot remain at liberty.

(d) The magistrate shall issue to an on-duty peace officer a warrant for the person's immediate apprehension if the magistrate finds that each criterion under Subsection (b) is satisfied.

(e) A person apprehended under this section shall be transported for a preliminary examination in accordance with Section 573.021 to:

(1) the nearest appropriate inpatient mental health facility; or

(2) a mental health facility deemed suitable by the local mental health authority, if an appropriate inpatient mental health facility is not available.

(f) The warrant serves as an application for detention in the facility. The warrant and a copy of the application for the warrant shall be immediately transmitted to the facility.

(g) If there is more than one court with probate jurisdiction in a county, an administrative order regarding presentation of an application must be jointly issued by all of the judges of those courts.

(h) A judge or magistrate may permit an applicant who is a physician to present an application by:

(1) e-mail with the application attached as a secure document in a portable document format (PDF); or

(2) secure electronic means, including:

(A) satellite transmission;

(B) closed-circuit television transmission; or

(C) any other method of two-way electronic communication that:

(i) is secure;

(ii) is available to the judge or magistrate; and

(iii) provides for a simultaneous, compressed full-motion video and interactive communication of image and sound between the judge or magistrate and the applicant.

(h-1) After the presentation of an application under Subsection (h), the judge or magistrate may transmit a warrant to the applicant:

(1) electronically, if a digital signature, as defined by Article 2.26, Code of Criminal Procedure, is transmitted with the document; or

(2) by e-mail with the warrant attached as a secure document in a portable document format (PDF), if the identifiable legal signature of the judge or magistrate is transmitted with the document.

(i) The judge or magistrate shall provide for a recording of the presentation of an application under Subsection (h) to be made and preserved until the patient or proposed patient has been released or discharged. The patient or proposed patient may obtain a copy of the recording on payment of a reasonable amount to cover the costs of reproduction or, if the patient or proposed patient is indigent, the court shall provide a copy on the request of the patient or proposed patient without charging a cost for the copy.


Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 15, Sec. 5.19, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 243, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 367, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1145 (S.B. 778), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 510 (H.B. 1829), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011.