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Emergency Custody Orders


The Code of Virginia allows for any responsible adult or law enforcement officer, with first-hand knowledge of an individual's behaviors that may be dangerous because of a mental illness, to petition the courts for an Emergency Custody Order (ECO), to have the individual in question evaluated.  This order can be obtained through the Magistrate's office 24 hours a day, seven days a week, either in Danville or in Chatham, at the courts and jails buildings.


The individual in question must appear to be mentally ill and in need of hospitalization


there is substantial likelihood, based on behavior, that the person could cause serious harm to self or others


lacks capacity to protect self from harm and provide for basic needs


be incapable or unwilling to seek treatment voluntarily


The Magistrate will require the individual's name, date of birth, Social Security number, current location, a physical description (eye and hair color, clothing, etc.), and the reason an order needs to be issued.


The Magistrate will notify the Sheriff's office of the order and the individual will be taken to a site such as DPCS' Mental Health Services on Hairston Street or the Emergency Department at Danville Regional Medical Center for an evaluation.


Once the officer or deputy begins transport of the individual, that individual may be detained for up to four hours while an evaluation is completed by a clinician from DPCS' Emergency Services Unit.


Many outcomes are possible and depend on the severity of the individual's illness and Virginia law.  Referrals to other community services may take place.


If there is a question about the process or legal criteria, please contact one of the following:


DPCS' Emergency Services Unit: 434.793.4922 or 877.793.4922
Danville Magistrate: 434.799.5143
Pittsylvania County Magistrate: 434.432.7910


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Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services
The Community Services Board Serving the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County in Virginia

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