County Attorney Homepage

Contact Information

320 S. Campbell St
2nd Floor, Suite 200
El Paso, Texas 79901
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Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Phone (915) 273-3238
Fax (915) 273-3277
Email comments@epcounty.com

Annex Offices

Downtown Office
320 S. Campbell St
2nd Floor, Suite 200
El Paso, Texas 79901
Phone (915) 273-3238
Fax (915) 546-2133

Monday - Friday
8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Ysleta Annex Office
9521 Socorro Rd. Suite A-3
El Paso, Texas 79927
Phone (915) 273-3467
Fax (915) 273-3842

Monday-Friday
8:30 am to 5:30 pm

Northwest Office
435 E. Vinton Rd., Suite B
Vinton, Texas 79821
Phone (915) 886-1075
Fax (915) 546-2133

Monday-Friday
8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Dealing with mental health challenges can be an incredibly difficult and emotional journey, both for the individual struggling as well as their loved ones. At the County Attorney's Mental Health Unit, we understand the complexities and sensitive nature of these situations. Our primary goal is to ensure access to exceptional mental health and intellectual disability services when needed.

While our office represents the State of Texas in civil commitment hearings and assists the public in obtaining Emergency Detention Orders for individuals needing emergency psychiatric evaluations, our mission extends far beyond legal proceedings. We actively collaborate with various agencies to develop comprehensive solutions that strengthen our mental health system, ensuring individuals receive the care and support they deserve.

If you have a question about getting someone help or need to file an Application for Emergency Detention Order, please feel free call our office or submit an Emergency Detention Order Application using the button below.

We understand that filling out an emergency detention order application may be a difficult and emotional situation. Please know that you are not alone. This process exists because trained mental health professionals recognize that there are times when an individual's state of mind puts their wellbeing at serious risk.

The sole purpose of an emergency detention order is to help someone receive an evaluation and emergency psychiatric treatment if needed. Emergency detention orders are not designed nor intended to ever lead to an arrest. Rest assured that the individual’s well-being is the priority.

Here at the County Attorney’s Office, we want you to feel supported through this challenging process. That is why we would like you to contact us should you have any questions about the process. You may reach us at 915-273-3238 or at any of the emails or numbers below.

Although the path ahead may be difficult, we will work alongside you to make it as easy as possible.

Additionally, if you or a loved one needs immediate emergency mental health support, we ask that you please call:

  • 911
  • Our Local Crisis Hotline at 915-779-1800 or 988
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

You can also visit www.ehnelpaso.org for more resources. We are here to help with compassion and understanding.

Michael Gomez - Trial Team Chief at MGomez@epcounty.com
Daniela Chisolm – Senior Trial Attorney at D.Chisolm@epcounty.com

Physical address:  320 S. Campbell St., Suite 200 El Paso Texas 79901
Phone: 915-273-3244

After hours and on weekends - only for Physician Applications
Contact El Paso County Jail Magistrate Court
Phone 915-546-2077

Mental Health Court Schedule
All hearings, to include probable cause and final hearings are held on Mondays and Thursdays of each week (unless those days are county holidays) beginning at 9:00 am via Zoom.

When and where are the court hearings?
I believe my adult loved one is acutely mentally ill. How can I get them help?
I am the guardian of an acutely mentally ill ward. How can I get them help?
How can I get a mentally ill minor/ward admitted to a psychiatric facility?
What if a person needs treatment but still has a pending criminal case?
How can I find out if a person is in a psychiatric facility?
Is there a limit to the number of emergency detentions I can request?
Is it allowed to present the paperwork in Spanish?
How can I request training in the involuntary mental health process for my agency?


When and where are the court hearings?
All hearings are held on Mondays and Thursdays beginning at 9:00 via Zoom.

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I believe my adult loved one is acutely mentally ill. How can I get them help?
If you believe that someone is, at present, likely to cause serious harm to themselves or others because of their mental illness, you should contact 911. If law enforcement is unable to assist, you may complete an application for Emergency Detention and submit it by email.

To fill out the form please follow the button below:



The applicant must be 18 years of age or older, must have first-hand knowledge of the person’s behavior, and state that they have reason to believe that the person evidences mental illness and because of their behavior and recent overt acts committed by them, they are in imminent harm to themselves and/or to others.

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I am the guardian of an acutely mentally ill ward. How can I get them help?
A guardian has the authority to transport an adult ward to a mental health facility for the purpose of getting a preliminary evaluation. The facility may file an application for an EDO to evaluate the patient longer. If the person is actively attempting suicide or is becoming dangerous, call 911.

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How can I get a mentally ill minor/ward admitted to a psychiatric facility?
A parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a minor may consent to the voluntary admission of the child/ward to an inpatient mental health facility.
In Texas a child 16 or older may consent to admission to a hospital.

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What if a person needs treatment but still has a pending criminal case?
If an attorney has already been appointed to represent the person in the criminal case, please contact that person and work through them. You may also refer the attorney to the County Attorney’s office to try and coordinate cases. Unless the pending criminal case is for an assault- serious bodily injury, it will not prevent the civil commitment case from going forward.

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How can I find out if a person is in a psychiatric facility?
Much information about a mentally ill person who has a case pending is confidential and our office may not be able to release information to you, especially if the patient has told the facility to limit the release of information to certain persons. If the patient gives you their “medical ID number” you may get information directly from the facility about their treatment and verify that they are at the facility.

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Is there a limit to the number of emergency detentions I can request?
The court process is available as often as the person meets criteria. You do not have a limit on how often you request help but know that the person must be in imminent harm to qualify for court intervention of this kind.

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Is it allowed to present the paperwork in Spanish?
All court papers submitted must be filed in English. There will be a Spanish language interpreter at the court hearings. If you or the patient need assistance with a deaf interpreter or a foreign language interpreter for a language other than Spanish, please advise the office so that arrangements can be made in advance to have those interpreters at the court hearings.

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How can I request training in the involuntary mental health process for my agency?
Please contact Michelle Rodriguez, Marisol Nevarez and Carl Jones at emails above.

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Referral

A person can enter the mental health court process in a number of ways. A peace officer may complete a Notification of Emergency Detention and transport the person to a facility for a preliminary mental health evaluation if the officer has reason to believe that the person is mentally ill and presents a substantial risk of harm to self or others unless restrained and there is no time to obtain a warrant. In this situation the officer transports the person to the nearest appropriate mental health facility or emergency room for an evaluation and leaves the notification at the facility. No order is signed by a judge. Alternatively, any adult may file an Application for Emergency Detention when it is believed the person is an imminent risk to self or others as a result of a mental illness. Once the application is complete, it is submitted to a judge who will review it and determine whether they believe that the person is a danger to themselves and/or others. If the judge approves the application he/she will sign a warrant and the El Paso County peace officer will serve the warrant and transport the person to an appropriate facility for a preliminary psychiatric evaluation. Applicants must have firsthand knowledge of the events leading up to the application.

Evaluation

A preliminary psychiatric evaluation is conducted either after the peace officer leaves the person at the facility or after they serve the warrant on the person and then transport him/her to a facility. The person may be held at the facility for up to 48 hours for this purpose unless the time ends on a weekend or holiday in which case the ending time is extended. When the person no longer meets the criteria for detention then they are discharged. Should a physician determine that the person needs to remain as an inpatient for a longer period, then the facility may request an Order for Protective Custody which would allow the patient to be detained for another 72 hours. The protective custody order may only be requested through the probate courts by the County Attorney’s office.

Treatment

The patient is often first seen at a hospital emergency room where they remain until he/she is determined to be medically stable. Once stable, the patient is transferred to a psychiatric facility. A hospital must have the appropriate paperwork in order to hold a patient under an involuntary admission. The Notification or Emergency detention order allows the person to be detained and evaluated. The person must still consent to medical treatment in the hospital setting assuming they are able to give consent. Psychoactive medication may be offered to the patient in the hospitals and/or in the mental health facilities. Generally psychiatric hospitals are not able to perform medical procedures which is why the person remains at the hospital until they are “medically cleared.”

Appointed counsel

Once the case for in-patient involuntary commitment has been filed with the probate court, an attorney is appointed by the court to interview the patient, review records and assist the person through the mental health legal process. The attorney advocates for the rights of the patient as well as the wishes of the patient. Their duties are spelled out in the law. They do not represent the family, only the patient. An attorney is assigned by the court to serve for a month at a time for all the hearings that are set during that month.

Probable cause hearing

Within 72 hours of being detained under the protective custody order, the patient is entitled to have a probable cause hearing. This hearing is to determine if there is “probable cause” to further detain the person until their final hearing. A judge makes the decision after a court hearing as to whether the person should be kept in the facility until their final hearing because the person presents a substantial risk of harm to self or others to the extent that they cannot remain at liberty. The patient may sign a waiver agreeing to stay in the hospital until the final hearing in which case there would be no hearing. An attorney would assist the patient with the handling of this matter.

Final Commitment Hearing

A final commitment hearing follows the probable cause hearing. The patient is entitled to be present and to a jury trial, but both may be waived by the patient. An attorney is present for the patient. A record is made and a court interpreter is available should the patient or a witness need the assistance of an interpreter. If the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that the patient is mentally ill and as a result is likely to cause serious harm to themselves or others or is experiencing substantial deterioration of his/her ability to function independently and is unable to make a rational and informed decision as to whether to submit to treatment, then the court will order a temporary commitment not to exceed 90 days. That commitment may be either an in-patient or an out-patient commitment. While subject to an in-patient commitment order, should the patient refuse to take their medication or stop taking it, it is possible for the psychiatrist to request the court to enter an order for psychoactive medication. Under this order, the patient’s consent would not be required.

Release

The treating doctor decides when a patient should be released from the involuntary mental health commitment order. The judge does not decide when the patient should be released. Generally social workers and case managers are responsible for making a discharge plan for the patient and they will consult with family members in coming up with a plan that may include follow up appointments, prescriptions and related services.

Minors

Generally, involuntary commitments are not available for minors. There are some narrow exceptions to this rule pertaining to commitments under the Juvenile Justice Section of the Texas Family Code or under those portions of the Texas Health and Safety Code relating to intellectual disability commitments.