If an order for treatment and/or assessment has been entered and the Patient/Respondent is complaint (in any way), ARLS will file a Rule to Show Cause with the court and bring the Patient/Respondent before the Judge to demonstrate “Good Cause” as to why the Judge should not find him/her in violation of the court order and be found to be in civil contempt of court. Generally, the judge will have a hearing, and if proven, give the Patient/Respondent one more opportunity to return to treatment and comply with the court order to avoid incarceration. Should the respondent yet again fail to comply with the court order they will be found in civil contempt and incarcerated for typically one week (although the court can impose a sentence of up to 6 months). It is important to note, serving time for contempt does not invalidate the existence or duration of the original order for treatment. The Respondent must continue treatment pursuant to the original order subsequent to being released from custody.
We find the act of simply filing the Order to Show Cause request and initiating a hearing typically provides an additional clinical tool for your staff. Once the Patient/Respondent has been served and is in court, more often than not, there is no need to move forward with a hearing due to their almost immediate initiation of compliance. We will then continue the matter and schedule yet another court date. Our continued use of hearings before the court in a manner designed with the clinicians input has been expressed to us by many clinicians as an invaluable clinical tool.