Pittsburgh Mental Health Attorney
If you are looking for a mental health attorney in Pittsburgh, then Herb & Winters Law is the right law firm for you. For over 40 years, Herb & Winters Law has proudly served the Greater Pittsburgh Area.
Our law firm’s founder James M. Herb is one of the most experienced if not the most experienced mental health attorney in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. In fact, James M. Herb is one of the most experienced mental health attorneys in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Mental health law is a legal niche in that very few attorneys have experience with the complexities involved with the mental health system. When it comes to your legal needs with respect to mental health, you will want to trust our law firm’s experience. If you need a mental health attorney, trust one of the most experienced names in Pennsylvania mental health law – Herb & Winters Law.
Call us today at (412) 533-4821 to schedule a consultation with a mental health attorney.
What Mental Health Legal Services Does Our Firm Provide?
Involuntary Commitment: Have you or a loved one recently been involuntarily committed? If so, you will want to hire a highly experienced mental health attorney to ensure that your rights and freedoms are adequately represented. Call us today to schedule a consultation.
Expunging Mental Health Records: If you have been involuntarily committed, then you lose certain federal and state constitutional rights. Under the federal and state constitution, you lose your right to keep and bear arms. Moreover, under the state constitution, you also lose your right to a good reputation because of your commitment. Expunging a mental health record can allow you to have your constitutional rights restored.
Criminal Cases: Unfortunately, if you or a loved one is struggling with mental illness, criminal charges could follow as a result of those struggles. You or a loved one may have gone off medication, had a mental episode, or your actions were a direct result from your mental illness. If you had not been struggling from mental illness, you very well may have not engaged in such conduct. Alternatively, bogus criminal charges can sometimes be filed against those struggling with mental illness because police officers are not mental health experts and can unnecessarily escalate situations or misunderstand a situation, in part, due to a mentally ill person’s erratic behavior. Whatever the cause, Herb & Winters Law can not only serve as your mental health attorney but we also have experienced criminal attorneys that can help you fight criminal charges against you.
Guardianships: When a loved one is involuntarily committed, you may want to seek a guardianship so that you can make legal decisions on their behalf until they regain the ability to competently make decisions. If you would like to learn more about guardianships, then visit our guardianships page.
What Can a Pittsburgh Mental Health Attorney Do for You?
When you are a loved one is involuntarily committed pursuant to the Mental Health Procedures Act (“MHPA”), this can be an emotionally difficult and stressful time. You likely have many questions regarding how long you or a loved one could be held at the hospital through involuntary commitment. One of the most common questions you may be is: what happens now? Instead of constantly worrying about the answer to that question, call Herb & Winters Law today to schedule a consultation so one of our experienced mental health attorneys can assist you. We can bring clarity to the situation you find yourself in, provide excellent representation to ensure your rights and freedoms are protected, and be a zealous advocate on your behalf.
Generally, the ultimate goal of most of our clients is to ensure that they are placed in the least restrictive environment as possible, which could mean shortening the potential days for commitment, finding an outpatient alternative, or challenging the grounds for commitment so that our client could be released immediately from involuntary commitment. We can discuss what your goals are and we can advise you on the best path to take to accomplish your goals.
What is a Section 302 Involuntary Examination Under Pennsylvania law?
Under the MHPA Section 302, a person can be involuntarily forced to undergo an emergency examination and treatment to determine whether the person should be involuntarily committed pursuant to Section 303. Pursuant to Section 302, an individual may not be involuntarily held for more than 120 hours.
What is a Section 303 Commitment Under Pennsylvania law?
Under MHPA, a Section 303 commitment means that the patient was committed involuntarily (i.e. against their own free will). To be committed to a mental institution pursuant to Section 303, it must be determined that you are a clear and present danger to yourself and/or others due to your mental illness. The consequences of being involuntarily committed can have serious consequences and can cause you to lose some of your constitutional rights such as the First Amendment right to bear and keep arms.
After you have been committed pursuant to Section 303, you or your loved one must be either: (1) discharged within five (5) days; or (2) a hearing must be brought within five (5) days where a request for a longer commitment must be made. If the court approves the request to extend the involuntary commitment, then the involuntary commitment may be extended. If the court rejects the request to extend involuntary commitment, then the patient will be discharged from the mental institution. If the request to extend the involuntary commitment is granted, then the period of commitment may be extended up to twenty (20) days. If the time for involuntary commitment is extended up to twenty (20) days, then you will want to read about Section 304 as well. You have a lot at stake at an involuntary commitment hearing, so you will want to hire a highly experienced mental health attorney from Herb & Winters Law.
To extend a commitment beyond five (5) days, a mental health court must grant the request to extend the commitment. Since involuntary commitment severely impacts the person being committed rights and freedoms, the Pennsylvania Legislature found it best that involuntary commitment beyond five (5) must be approved by the court. Considering that a patient can be held against their own free will pursuant to Section 303 even if they haven’t committed a crime or done anything wrong, the Pennsylvania Legislature found it best to create procedures to balance the patient’s rights and freedoms against the state’s interests and desire of involuntarily committing persons that have been deemed to need such treatment.
While procedures are in place to give the patient’s interest an opportunity to be heard, you will want to rely upon the experience of a seasoned Pittsburgh mental health attorney who can be your voice and advocate on your behalf to ensure that your rights and freedoms are adequately represented. This is not a situation that you want to entrust the protection of your rights to just any attorney. Rather, you specifically need a mental health attorney to ensure that your legal rights and freedoms are adequately protected. If you need a mental health attorney, then call us today at Herb & Winters Law to schedule a consultation.
What is a Section 304 Commitment Under Pennsylvania law?
Under the MHPA, a 304 commitment means that your stay can be extended up to 90 days. Hopefully, by now, you have already obtained counsel to represent you. If not, then call Herb & Winters Law today to schedule a consultation to see how our mental health attorneys can assist you.
What is a Section 305 Commitment Under Pennsylvania law?
Under the MHPA, a 305 commitment means that your involuntary commitment can be extended by up to an additional period of 180 days. Yes, that means that your stay could be extended by an additional 6 months. By now, you have spent a significant amount of time in an institution and are at risk of having your stay significantly extended. However, persons meeting the criteria of Section 304(g) could be subject to an additional period of 365 days (i.e. one year). If you are at risk of having your stay extended pursuant to Section 305, we highly recommend that you obtain a mental health attorney. Call us today to schedule a consultation.
Trust our experience and we will fight for you and your loved ones. If you need a Pittsburgh mental health attorney, then call Herb & Winters Law today to schedule consultation (412) 533-4821.