General Information

Contact Dept

  • Phone:
    (559) 600-9180
  • Fax:
    (559) 600-7674
  • Address:
    4441 East Kings Canyon
    Fresno, CA 93702
  • Crisis Services:
    1-800-654-3937
  • Urgent Care Wellness Center:
    (559) 600-9171
  • TTY:
    Dial 711 to reach California Relay Service

5150 and You

Information on this page gathered from handbook supplied by Patients' Right Advocate Office.
You can reach the Patients Right Advocate  Office at 559-492-1652
Most common questions regarding 5150 are:

What does 5150 mean?
5150 is a specific California Welfare and Institutions Code, which allows a professional person designated by Fresno County to take you to an approved psychiatric facility for involuntary 72-hour treatment and evaluation. This person could be a police officer or perhaps a crisis Mental Health worker.
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Why was I admitted to the hospital on a 5150?
You were admitted to the hospital for one or more of the following reasons: It was in the opinion of the professional staff that because of a mental disorder, you were either:

  • A danger to yourself, and/or
  • A danger to someone else, and/or
  • Unable to provide your own food, shelter, or clothing (also called "Grave Disability").

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How long must I be in the hospital?
The psychiatrist or psychologist working with him/her who is treating you can keep you in the hospital up to 72 hours. (This 72 hour period includes weekends.) However, if the psychiatrist/psychologist feels that you are no longer a danger to yourself, a danger to others, or gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder, you can be released before the 72 hours is over.
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During these 72 hours, can I leave the hospital?
No. You must remain in the hospital until your psychiatrist discharges you, or until the 72 hours is over.
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Can I be kept in the hospital longer than 72 hours?
Yes. If at the end of the 72 hours, your psychiatrist still believes you to be a danger to yourself, a danger to others, and/or gravely disabled, as a result of a mental disorder, you can be held involuntarily for more than 72 hours. However, if the psychiatrist believes you are capable of signing in as a voluntary patient, you have the right to be given this opportunity.
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After 72 hours, how much longer can I be kept in the hospital?
After the initial 72 hours, your psychiatrist can request to keep you in the hospital, up to 14 more days. However, a Certification Hearing must be held within four days to determine if there is good reason for your psychiatrist to keep you in the hospital longer.
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What is Certification Hearing?
A Certification Hearing is also known as a Probable Cause Hearing. It is an informal hearing held at the hospital to determine if there is "good cause" to keep you in the hospital.
At the hearing, a hearing officer will determine whether or not you are still a danger to yourself, a danger to others, or gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder. If there is no good cause to keep you in the hospital, the hearing officer can discharge you from the hospital immediately. If there is good cause, the hearing officer will allow your psychiatrist to keep you in the hospital for up to fourteen more days.
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Can I be released from the hospital before the end of fourteen days?
Yes. As soon as the psychiatrist believes you are no longer a danger to yourself, a danger to others, or gravely disabled, he or she will release you from the hospital.
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What can I do if I disagree with the psychiatrist's request to keep me for more than 72 hours?
At any time after you have been notified of the psychiatrist's request to keep you in the hospital longer, you can request a Writ of Habeas Corpus. This is a request for a formal superior court hearing if you believe you should be released from the hospital. At this hearing a Superior Court Judge of Fresno County will decide if the psychiatrist has good cause to keep you in the hospital. You should keep in mind that if you request a writ of Habeas Corpus hearing prior to the probable cause hearing, the probable cause hearing will not be held. Therefore, you may want to wait until after the probable cause hearing before requesting a writ of Habeas Corpus. In this way you will have two opportunities to be released from the hospital.
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How do I request a Writ of Habeas Corpus?
Just ask a staff member or contact your Patients' Rights Advocate and he or she will provide you with the necessary forms for you to sign. The telephone number for the Patients' Rights Advocate in Fresno County is printed on the cover of the Patients’ Rights Handbook.
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How long will it be before I have a court hearing?
In most cases it takes two working days after you request a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Therefore, if you request a Writ of Habeas Corpus on Friday, it is possible you may not appear in court until the following Tuesday.
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Can I refuse to take medication?
If you are an involuntary patient, and your psychiatrist believes medication would be necessary for your treatment, you may be forced to take medication. It is illegal for hospital staff to administer medication to you simply for their convenience.
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What happens at the end of 14 days?
At the end of 14 days, a number of things could happen:

  • You could be released from the hospital.
  • If the reason you were certified for 14 days was because of grave disability, temporary conservatorship may be established if the doctor treating you believes you are still gravely disabled.
  • If you are considered to be a danger to yourself, you may be recertified for an additional 14 days.
  • If you are considered a danger to others, you may be post-certified which can allow the doctor to keep you in the hospital up to 180 days.

 If the psychiatrist wants to keep you in the hospital beyond the 14 days, he or she would again need the approval of the Fresno County Superior Court.
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What can I do to facilitate my release from the hospital?
You need to show that you are not a danger to yourself, a danger to others, or gravely disabled:
• Do not attempt or threaten to hurt yourself or others.
• Show that you are interested in your own well¬being by expressing an interest in food, maintaining your personal hygiene, and wearing clean clothes.
• Avoid physical and verbal confrontations with staff members and other patients.
• Do not do anything that will encourage staff to put you into seclusion.
• To avoid being held for grave disability, get into contact with friends or relatives who would be willing to support or help you if you were released from the hospital. You may want to let your Patients' Rights Advocate know who these people are so he or she can assist you.
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If you are being detained against your will under Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 5150 (72 hours), 5250 (14 days), 5260 (additional 14 days) or 5270.15 (additional 30 days) you have the right to refuse treatment with *antipsychotic medication. However, you may be treated with antipsychotic medication over your objection in the case of an *emergency or upon a determination that you do not have the capacity to refuse treatment, in a capacity hearing held for this purpose. The capacity hearing will be conducted at the facility where you are receiving treatment by a * hearing officer. The hearing officer will determine whether you have the capacity to refuse medication as a form of treatment. You may appeal the determination of the capacity hearing to the superior court or the court of appeal.
You have the right to be represented at the capacity hearing by a patients' rights advocate or legal counsel. This person will assist you to prepare for the hearing and will answer concerns or questions you may have about the capacity hearing process.

Definition of Terms
ANTI PSYCHOTIC MEDICATION
- any medication customarily prescribed for the treatment of symptoms of psychoses and the severe mental and emotional disorders.

EMERGENCY - a situation in which an action to impose treatment over the person's objection is immediately necessary for the preservation of life or the prevention of serious bodily harm to the patient or others, and it is impracticable to first gain consent.

HEARING OFFICER - a superior court judge, a court- appointed commissioner or referee, or a court-appointed hearing officer. All commissioners, referees and hearing officers are appointed by the superior court from a list of attorneys unanimously approved by a panel composed of the local mental health director, the county public defender, and the county counsel or district attorney designated by the county board of supervisors.
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