Right to counsel

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Legislation, Civil Commitment

Every respondent under the Commitment Procedures' Chapter of the North Dakota Century Code is entitled to legal counsel before commitment for mental illness. N.D. Cent. Code § 25-03.1-13. Counsel shall be appointed if an appearance by an attorney has not been entered within twenty-four hours of the filing of a petition for commitment and at the county's expense if the respondent is indigent.


More specifically, there is the right to counsel before involuntary commitment hearings and any court-ordered examination, especially if the person is indigent. N.D. Cent. Code § 25-03.1-09. Also, if such a person poses an immediate serious risk of harm to others, themselves, or property, they may be taken into custody, but must be advised of the right to counsel. § 25-03.1-25.


Furthermore, if an order of involuntary commitment is appealable, the court must notify the respondent of their right to counsel. N.D. Cent. Code § 25-03.1-29. See also § 25-03.1-31 (right to counsel in procedure to extend commitment).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no