Emergency Commitments

An emergency commitment is a legal document whereby commitment procedures are followed in regards to individuals that are intoxicated, incapacitated, or pregnant substance abusers. If criteria is met and the Emergency Commitment Application is accepted by the designated administration of the facility, the individual may be committed to a designated treatment facility for a period of up to five days, excluding weekends and holidays.

In order for a person to be committed under the Emergency Commitment statute, SDCL 34-20A-63, the applicant must allege that the person whose commitment is sought is an intoxicated person who:
  • Has threatened, attempted, or inflicted physical harm on him/herself or on another or is likely to inflict physical harm on him/herself or on another unless committed; or
  • Is incapacitated by the effects of alcohol or drugs; or
  • Is pregnant and abusing alcohol or drugs.

The application must also contain the specific circumstances requiring emergency commitment, including the applicant’s personal observations and the specific statements of others, if any, which support the alleged grounds for commitment. Thus the application might include:

  1. Specific facts or incidents at present or in recent past which indicate the individual is abusing alcohol or drugs.
  2. Specific facts or incidents showing that the abuse of alcohol and/or drugs has led to substantial impairment of mental or physical functioning, inability to care for basic personal needs or safety, danger to self or others, or, if pregnant, is endangering her unborn child by exposure to abusive use.
In most cases, the intoxicated individual is brought to the facility by family, neighbors, friends, or other interested persons. All such transportation options should be explored. A person may be taken into protective custody by law enforcement authorities who have determined that the person is clearly a danger to self or others.
Payment for treatment under emergency commitment may be assessed to the individual committed, to a legally responsible relative or guardian, to the county of residence if indigent, or billed to the South Dakota Division of Social Services Community Behavioral Health through contract with a designated treatment facility.
**Please note that emergency commitments filed at our facility are only available for individuals located within Pennington County. If an individual has been brought to and admitted into Detox, an emergency commitment can be filed at our office. 
If you are seeking an emergency commitment for an individual in another county, please contact the State's Attorney in that County for assistance.