Right to counsel

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Legislation, Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

South Dakota provides a statutory right to court-appointed counsel in civil commitment cases and other similar actions. "In no instance may a person not be represented by counsel" in a proceeding before a county board of mental illness that may result in involuntary commitment. S.D. Codified Laws § 27A-11A-7. Likewise, a developmentally disabled person alleged to meet the criteria for board-ordered commitment must be represented by counsel. S.D. Codified Laws § 27B-7-41. Finally, individuals threatened with involuntary detention for alcohol or drug abuse also have the right to a court-appointed attorney. S.D. Codified Laws § 34-20A-85.


An allegedly mentally ill child must be represented by an attorney during any hearing by a county board of mental illness. S.D. Codified Laws §§ 27A-15-15.3; 27A-15-35; 27A-15-41. A minor does not bear responsibility for the expense of an appointed attorney in these cases. See S.D. Codified Laws §§ 27A-15-15.4; 27A-15-19.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no