Commitment Process

Probate Court assists the Local Mental Health, Local Alcohol and Drug Abuse Centers, and Local Department of Disabilities and Special Needs in the involuntary commitment process of individuals for alcohol/drug addiction, mental illness, intellectual disability, and/or tuberculosis through the preparation of sworn petitions and presiding over hearings. The Code of Laws of South Carolina 1976, Title 44 provides for the involuntary commitment of individuals for treatment for:

  • AIDS
  • Chemical dependence
  • Intellectual disability
  • Mental illness
  • Tuberculosis

Order of Detention

Upon the filing of an appropriate petition, the Probate Court issue an Order of Detention for the examination of the person in need of treatment and may designate examiners, appoint an attorney and schedule a Hearing. Based on the results of the examination the person may be provided immediate hospitalization, or be required to receive involuntary outpatient treatment as designated by the Court at the Hearing.

Should the person receive emergency treatment they are scheduled for a Hearing within 15 days of admittance for mental illness or within 20 days of admittance for chemical abuse treatment. At the Hearing, the person may be Ordered for further inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Mental Illness & Chemical Dependency

Commitment for involuntary treatment for mental illness and/or chemical dependency and/or intellectual disability that is not deemed to be an emergency, a judicial procedure can be followed. The Court monitors all chemically dependent persons for a period of one year and monitors the mentally ill persons as needed. 


All records relating to involuntary commitment are confidential and can only be accessed by consent of the individual or his guardian; upon Court Order or when disclosure is determined to be necessary for cooperation with law enforcement, health, welfare, and other state or federal agencies or when furthering the welfare of the patient or his family. 

Inquiries & Petitions

All inquiries and petitions must be made with the local Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, or Department of Disabilities and Special Needs prior to contacting Probate Court. Probate Court cannot issue a Detention Orders without the request or the local entity involved.