Right to counsel

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Legislation, Civil Commitment

R.I. Gen. Laws § 40.1-5-8(d)(2) specifies that in a proceeding to certify someone to a mental health facility, "If the person is unable to afford counsel, the court forthwith shall appoint the mental health advocate for him or her."


Rhode Island law also provides a right to counsel for court-certified alleged narcotics addicts who appear before a family or district court without counsel and are financially unable to engage counsel.  R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.2-3(4). In these cases, the court is required to notify the person of their right to counsel. 


Pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-1.12-2, a person may be involuntarily committed due to dependency on alcohol.  The court must inform the individual of their right to counsel in all proceedings related to their commitment or recommitment.  If the person desires counsel, the court must appoint counsel for them if they are unable to obtain counsel. R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-1.12-2(j).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no