In order for the state of Wisconsin to send you to jail (other than a short stay while you await trial), you have to be convicted of a crime and sentenced to imprisonment.
However, treatment facilities and hospitals are a little different. Wisconsin’s mental health laws make involuntary commitment and emergency detention, either at the hands of your family or law enforcement, a very real possibility. Law enforcement can detain you at a treatment facility if:
- Police have probably cause to believe you are suffering from a mental disorder
- You are dependent on drugs
- You are developmentally disabled
- Your mental condition can be improved with treatment
- You are a danger to yourself or others
It all becomes a gray area that can put you in front of a judge when your family wants to have you committed.
Your Family’s Petition to Have You Committed
In order for your family to have you committed in Wisconsin, they must file a petition for examination with the court. It takes three adults (and one of them must have personal knowledge of your conduct) to file this petition.
In order for a judge to order a psychiatric evaluation, which may result in institutionalization, there has to be sufficient evidence that you need involuntary treatment.
What to Do if Your Family Wants You Committed
If you find out that your family wants you committed for treatment for any reason, it’s in your best interest to talk to a Milwaukee mental health treatment lawyer. Your attorney will make sure that your rights are preserved throughout the entire process.
You have the right to a copy of the petition and the detention order, and you have the right to be present at all of your hearings. Your attorney can question witnesses or you can question them; you can also testify on your own behalf and call witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
For most people, it’s best to talk to a lawyer right away. The sooner you retain an attorney, the better chance you have at successfully refuting your family’s claims.