What Is A 5150 Hold?

“5150” was a Van Halen album back when there were albums and more recently it was a Dierks Bently hit.

This week, 5150 was in celebrity arrest news, but beyond being a media event, a “5150 Hold” is a precautionary tool used by law enforcement and mental health professions.

When someone is taken into custody, section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code allows a corrections officer or clinician to place an involuntary “hold” on a defendant if they suspect this person has a mental illness or disorder that could make them dangerous to themselves or others. The hold indicates the individual is not eligible for release from jail for a minimum of 72 hours.

If the officer or clinician feels the hold is warranted, they’ll need to sign a written declaration and submit that along with the request.

During the hold a mental health professional will evaluate the defendant to determine if the defendant should be admitted to a psychiatric facility.  If that does happen, the only person who can remove the 5150 hold is a licensed psychiatrist.

A psychiatrist will need to determine whether the defendant still meets criteria for hospitalization.  If the determination is yes, the defendant will have the option of voluntarily admitting themselves.

If the defendant refuses admission for treatment, the psychiatrist can place an additional, involuntary 14-day hold. The goal is to keep the individual safe as well as free from harming others.

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