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What Is a 302 Commitment in PA?

A “302 commitment” refers to a specific provision under Pennsylvania law that allows for the involuntary emergency examination and treatment of individuals who are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health crisis. It derives its name from Section 302 of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act (MHPA).

Under a 302 commitment, a person can be involuntarily detained and transported to a designated mental health facility for evaluation by medical professionals. This provision is typically invoked when there is a concern that the individual may pose a risk of harm, such as displaying suicidal or violent behavior.

302 Mental Health Commitment Expungement

To have an involuntary commitment expungement, the person seeking the expungement must show the involuntary commitment was not medically necessary. The petitioner may offer expert witness testimony at a hearing to show the involuntary commitment was not medically necessary. Also, evidence that an unrelated party called to have someone involuntarily committed and the basis of the call was false will also be considered. For example, if your ex-wife calls and says that you threatened to kill yourself and at your expungement hearing you show that as soon as you arrived at the mental health hospital for your involuntary commitment, you were immediately discharged because the staff recognized the allegations were fake, your expungement should be granted.

The relevant portion of the statute follows:

18 PACS § 6111.1. Pennsylvania State Police
(g) Review by court
(1) Upon receipt of a copy of the order of a court of competent jurisdiction which vacates a final order or an involuntary certification issued by a mental health review officer, the Pennsylvania State Police shall, after disclosing relevant records under subsection (f)(3), expunge all records of the involuntary treatment received under subsection (f).

(2) A person who is involuntarily committed pursuant to section 302 of the Mental Health Procedures Act may petition the court to review the sufficiency of the evidence upon which the commitment was based. If the court determines that the evidence upon which the involuntary commitment was based was insufficient, the court shall order that the record of the commitment submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police be expunged. A petition filed under this subsection shall toll the 60-day period set forth under section 6105(a)(2).

(3) The Pennsylvania State Police, after disclosing relevant records under subsection (f)(3), shall expunge all records of an involuntary commitment of an individual who is discharged from a mental health facility based upon the initial review by the physician occurring within two hours of arrival under section 302(b) of the Mental Health Procedures Act and the physician’s determination that no severe mental disability existed pursuant to section 302(b) of the Mental Health Procedures Act. The physician shall provide signed confirmation of the determination of the lack of severe mental disability following the initial examination under section 302(b) of the Mental Health Procedures Act to the Pennsylvania State Police.

Can a Person With a 302 Commitment Possess a Firearm?

Under 6105, many people are listed who cannot own a firearm. One such group is people with involuntary mental health commitments. However, an exception to that rule is if the involuntary commitment is expunged under 6111.1 above. The reason this is so important is that we are not talking about a citizen’s ability to get a license to carry a concealed firearm, we are talking about whether a citizen can even live in a house where there is a gun. Once the expungement of the involuntary commitment is granted and the record expunged, the citizen will no longer violate 6105(c)(4), and can regain their right to possess a firearm under 6105(f)(1).

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

Brian J. Zeiger, Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer

Contact The Zeiger Firm For Help

If you require assistance in pursuing the expungement of a previous involuntary mental health commitment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the dedicated team at The Zeiger Firm. Our expungement attorneys are ready to help. We are committed to our clients so contact us today at 215-770-9090.

Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire, is an experienced and successful criminal defense and civil rights attorney. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant experience before juries and judges. Brian understands civil rights cases, including Taser, Wrongful Death, Excessive Force, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct, Malicious Prosecution, Monell Claims, Sexual Assault, Prisoner’s Rights, Time Credit, Medical Malpractice, and Medical Indifference.