Right to counsel

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Legislation, Civil Commitment

Mental Health Treatment

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); see also Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 574.061(d) (where facility seeks to modify outpatient mental health services order, counsel must be appointed for patient).  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).


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).  

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no