Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–526. Extension of maximum periods of time.

(a) If the maximum period of time prescribed by section 21-512, 21-523, 21-524, 21-525 or 21-548, during which an action or determination may or shall be taken, expires on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the period may be extended to not later than noon of the next succeeding day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

(b) If the maximum period of time prescribed by the sections listed in subsection (a) of this section expires between 12:01 a.m. and 12:00 noon on a Monday or the next business day following a legal holiday, the period shall be extended until 12:00 noon of that day, or, when the maximum period of time prescribed by the sections listed in subsection (a) of this section expires on a legal holiday, the period shall be extended until 12:00 noon of the next business day.

(c) The maximum period of time for detention for emergency observation and diagnosis may be extended for up to 21 days, if judicial proceedings under subchapter IV of this chapter have been commenced before the expiration of the order entered under section 21-524 and a psychiatrist or qualified psychologist has examined the person who is the subject of the judicial proceedings and is of the opinion that the person being detained remains mentally ill and is likely to injure himself or others as a result of the illness unless the emergency detention is continued. For good cause shown, the Court may extend the period of detention for emergency observation and diagnosis. The period of detention for emergency observation and diagnosis may be extended pursuant to section 21-543(b) or following a hearing before the Commission pursuant to subsections (d) and (e) of this section.

(d) If the Commission, at the conclusion of its hearing pursuant to section 21-542, has found that the person with respect to whom the hearing was held is mentally ill and, because of the mental illness, is likely to injure himself or others if not committed, and has concluded that a recommendation of inpatient commitment is the least restrictive alternative available to prevent the person from injuring himself or others, the detention for emergency observation and diagnosis may be continued by the Department or hospital —

(1) Pending the conclusion of judicial proceedings under subchapter IV of this chapter;

(2) Until the Court enters an order discharging the person; or

(3) Until the Department or hospital determines that continued hospitalization is no longer the least restrictive form of treatment appropriate for the person being detained.

(e) If the Commission, at the conclusion of its hearing, finds that the person is mentally ill, is likely to injure himself or other persons as a result of mental illness if not committed, and that outpatient treatment is the least restrictive form of commitment appropriate, then, within 14 days of the date of the hearing, the person shall be discharged from inpatient status and shall receive outpatient mental health services or mental health supports as an emergency nonvoluntary patient consistent with this subchapter, pending the conclusion of judicial proceedings under subchapter IV of this chapter.


(Sept. 14, 1965, 79 Stat. 754, Pub. L. 89-183, § 1; June 30, 1989, D.C. Law 8-15, § 2, 36 DCR 3695; April 4, 2003, D.C. Law 14-283,§ 2(l)(1), 50 DCR 917; Dec. 10, 2004, 118 Stat. 3473, Pub. L. 108-450, § 4.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 21-526.

1973 Ed., § 21-526.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 21-527 and § 21-548.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-283, in subsec. (a), substituted “ section 21-512, 21-523, 21-524, 21-525 or 21-548” for “ section 21-512, 21-523, 21-524, or 21-525”.

Pub. L. 108-450 added subsecs. (c), (d), and (e).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of applicability provision for § 2(d), (k)(2), (m), (q)(3) and (4), (s), and (t) of D.C. Act 14-265, see § 4 of Mental Health Commitment Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-265, January 30, 2002, 49 DCR 1450).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(k) of Mental Health Commitment Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-265, January 30, 2002, 49 DCR 1450).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(k) of Mental Health Commitment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-350, April 24, 2002, 49 DCR 4417).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section applicable upon the enactment of certain legislation by the United States Congress, see §§ 2(l) and 3 of Mental Health Civil Commitment Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-546, December 12, 2002, 50 DCR 199).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2(l) and (3) of Mental Health Civil Commitment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-41, March 24, 2003, 50 DCR 2784).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(k) of D.C. Law 14-131, in subsec. (a), substituted “ section 21-512, 21-523, 21-524, 21-525 or 21-548” for “ section 21-512, 21-523, 21-524, or 21-525”; and added subsecs. (c), (d) and (e) to read as follows:

“(c) The maximum period of time for detention for emergency observation and diagnosis may be extended for up to 14 days, if judicial proceedings under subchapter IV of this chapter have been commenced before the expiration of the order entered under section 21-524 and a psychiatrist or qualified psychologist has examined the person who is the subject of the judicial proceedings and is of the opinion that the person being detained remains mentally ill and is likely to injure himself or others as a result of the illness unless the emergency detention is continued.

“(d)(1) If requested by the petitioner, the Commission, at the conclusion of its hearing pursuant to section 21-542, may immediately order the continued hospitalization of a person detained for emergency observation and diagnosis until the conclusion of judicial proceedings under subchapter IV of this chapter, but only after the Commission has:

“(A) Found that the person with respect to whom the hearing was held is mentally ill and, because of the mental illness, is likely to injure himself or other persons if not committed; and

“(B) Concluded that a recommendation of inpatient commitment is the least restrictive alternative available to prevent the person from injuring himself or others.

“(2) If the Commission orders the continued inpatient detention of a person, it shall promptly notify the court of that fact in writing.

“(3) If requested by the petitioner at the hearing, the Commission may order the immediate transfer of the person being detained to the Department, for inpatient or outpatient mental health services or mental health supports, or may order the continued detention by the Department in a facility certified for emergency observation and diagnosis, pending the conclusion of judicial proceedings under subchapter IV of this chapter. If the Commission orders the continued detention of a person or transfer of a person to the Department, it shall promptly notify the court of that fact in writing.

“(e) If requested by the petitioner, the Commission, at the conclusion of its hearing, may order that the person being detained by the Department continue to receive outpatient mental health services or mental health supports pending the conclusion of judicial proceedings under subchapter IV of this chapter, if at the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission finds that the person is mentally ill, likely to injure himself or others as a result of mental illness if not committed, and that outpatient treatment is the least restrictive form of appropriate commitment. The Commission shall promptly notify the court of the decision regarding continued outpatient services and supports in writing.” For applicability of § 2(k)(2) of D.C. Law 14-131, see note following § 21-502.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 14-131 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of §§ 2(d), (e), (l)(2), (n), (r)(3) and (4), (t), and (u) of Law 14-283: Section 3 of Law 14-283 provided that section 2(d), (e), (l)(2), (n), (r)(3) and (4), (t), and (u) shall apply upon the enactment of legislation by the United States Congress that states the following: “Notwithstanding any other law, section 2(d), (e), (l)(2), (r)(3) and (4), (t), and (u) of the Mental Health Civil Commitment Act of 2002, adopted by the Council of the District of Columbia, is enacted into law.”