Code of the District of Columbia

§ 24–607. Commitment by Court order.

(a) The Court may, on a petition of the Corporation Counsel on behalf of the Mayor, filed and heard before the period of detention for detoxification and diagnosis expires, order a person to be committed to the custody of the Mayor for inpatient treatment and care if: (1) the Court determines that the person is a chronic alcoholic and that as a result of chronic or acute intoxication such person is in immediate danger of substantial physical harm; and (2) such person received notice of the filing of such petition within a reasonable time before the hearing held by the Court. The period of such commitment, computed from the date of admission to a detoxification center, shall not exceed: (1) thirty days in the case of the first or second such commitment within any 24-month period; or (2) ninety days in the case of the third or subsequent such commitment within any 24-month period.

(b)(1)(A) The Court may, after making the findings prescribed in paragraph (2) of this subsection, commit to the custody of the Mayor for treatment and care for up to a specified period of time a chronic alcoholic who:

(i) Is charged with any misdemeanor and who, prior to trial for such misdemeanor, voluntarily requests such treatment in lieu of criminal prosecution for such misdemeanor;

(ii) Is charged with a violation of § 25-128 and is acquitted on the ground of chronic alcoholism; or

(iii) Is convicted of a violation of such § 25-128.

(B) The term of commitment of a chronic alcoholic ordered by the Court under this subsection may not exceed the maximum term of imprisonment authorized for the misdemeanor for which the chronic alcoholic was charged.

(2)(A) Before any person may be committed under this subsection, the Court shall, after a medical diagnosis and a civil hearing, find that:

(i) The person is a chronic alcoholic;

(ii) Adequate and appropriate treatment provided by the Mayor is available for the person; and

(iii) In the case of a person described in sub-subparagraph (iii) of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of this subsection, he constitutes a continuing danger to the safety of himself or of other persons.

(B) The Court shall give reasonable notice of such hearing to the person sought to be committed and his attorney. In the case of a person described in sub-subparagraph (iii) of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of this subsection, if the Court does not make the finding described in sub-subparagraph (ii) of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the Court may sentence the person to a penal institution pending the availability of such treatment, but for a period not to exceed the maximum term of imprisonment authorized for a violation of such § 25-128.

(c) A committed person may challenge by a petition for a writ of habeas corpus the applicability of such findings, except that no more than 1 such petition may be filed in any 6-month period. The limitation prescribed in the preceding sentence shall not apply in the case of petitions based on newly discovered evidence.

(d) The Mayor may transfer a committed person who has been adjudged a continuing danger to the safety of himself or of other persons from inpatient to outpatient status only with permission of the Court. The Mayor may transfer any other committed person from inpatient to outpatient status, and any committed person from outpatient to inpatient status, without permission of the Court, but may not release a committed person without permission of the Court.

(e) If any person subject to a commitment proceeding initiated under this section does not have an attorney and cannot afford one, the Court shall appoint one to represent him.


(Aug. 4, 1947, 61 Stat. 745, ch. 472, § 7; Aug. 3, 1968, 82 Stat. 621, Pub. L. 90-452, § 3(a).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-527.

1973 Ed., § 24-527.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1602, § 24-604, § 24-605, and § 24-606.

References in Text

Section 25-128, referred to in subsection (b)(1)(A)(ii) and (iii) and (2)(B) of this section, is part of Title 25, D.C. Official Code, which title was amended and enacted by D.C. Law 13-298, effective May 3, 2001. For disposition of the subject matter of former Title 25, see the Disposition Table preceding § 25-101.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.