122C-267. Outpatient commitment; district court hearing.

(a) A hearing shall be held in district court within 10 days of the day the respondent is taken into custody pursuant to G.S. 122C-261(e). Upon its own motion or upon motion of the proposed outpatient treatment physician or the respondent, the court may grant a continuance of not more than five days.

(b) The respondent shall be present at the hearing. A subpoena may be issued to compel the respondent's presence at a hearing. The petitioner and the proposed outpatient treatment physician or his designee may be present and may provide testimony.

(c) Certified copies of reports and findings of commitment examiners and medical records of previous and current treatment are admissible in evidence.

(d) At the hearing to determine the necessity and appropriateness of outpatient commitment, the respondent need not, but may, be represented by counsel. However, if the court determines that the legal or factual issues raised are of such complexity that the assistance of counsel is necessary for an adequate presentation of the merits or that the respondent is unable to speak for himself, the court may continue the case for not more than five days and order the appointment of counsel for an indigent respondent. Appointment of counsel shall be in accordance with rules adopted by the Office of Indigent Defense Services.

(e) Hearings may be held at the area facility in which the respondent is being treated, if it is located within the judge's district court district as defined in G.S. 7A-133, or in the judge's chambers. A hearing may not be held in a regular courtroom, over objection of the respondent, if in the discretion of a judge a more suitable place is available.

(f) The hearing shall be closed to the public unless the respondent requests otherwise.

(g) A copy of all documents admitted into evidence and a transcript of the proceedings shall be furnished to the respondent on request by the clerk upon the direction of a district court judge. If the client is indigent, the copies shall be provided at State expense.

(h) To support an outpatient commitment order, the court is required to find by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that the respondent meets the criteria specified in G.S. 122C-263(d)(1). The court shall record the facts which support its findings and shall show on the order the center or physician who is responsible for the management and supervision of the respondent's outpatient commitment. (1973, c. 726, s. 1; c. 1408, s. 1; 1975, cc. 322, 459; 1977, c. 400, s. 7; c. 1126, s. 1; 1979, c. 915, ss. 7, 13; 1983, c. 380, s. 6; c. 638, ss. 12, 13; c. 864, s. 4; 1985, c. 589, s. 2; c. 695, s. 8; 1987, c. 282, s. 18; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1037, s. 113.1; 2000-144, s. 38; 2018-33, s. 28.)