Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Involuntary Medical Treatment (incomplete)

Chemical Dependency Treatment

Per Tex. Health & Safety Code § 462.062, "[a] county or district attorney or other adult may file a sworn written application for court-ordered treatment of another person" based on alleged chemical dependency of the respondent.  The court may order inpatient or outpatient treatment. See Tex. Health & Safety Code § 462.069.


Upon filing of the application, "[t]he court shall appoint an attorney to represent the proposed patient if the proposed patient does not retain an attorney of [their] choice." Tex. Health & Safety Code § 462.063(c).  Proposed patients who are minors are also entitled to appointed counsel regardless of whether proposed patient or their family can afford counsel. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 462.063(d).  

Where the facility asks the court to modify the inpatient commitment order to require outpatient care or services, the patient is entitled to a hearing upon request. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 462.073(a), (d).  The right to counsel extends to this hearing as well. Id. at (d).

Mental Health Treatment

A court may order a proposed patient to receive temporary or extended outpatient mental health services.  See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 574.0345 and § 574.035, respectively.  Within 24 hours after an application for court-ordered mental health services is filed, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent the proposed patient if they do not have an attorney. Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 574.003(a).  The appointed attorney must represent the individual until:


(1) the application is dismissed;
(2) an appeal from an order directing treatment is taken;
(3) the time for giving notice of appeal expires by operation of law; or
(4) another attorney assumes responsibility for the case.


Tex. Health & Safety Code § 574.004(h).  If a patient does not comply with the court ordered outpatient program, the court may set a modification hearing or issue an order for temporary detention, for which the right to counsel also attaches. § 574.037(c-3).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no