122C-283. Duties of law enforcement officer; first examination by commitment examiner.

(a) Without unnecessary delay after assuming custody, the law enforcement officer or the individual designated or required to provide transportation under G.S. 122C-251(g) shall take the respondent to a facility or other location identified by the LME/MCO in the community crisis services plan adopted pursuant to G.S. 122C-202.2 that has an available commitment examiner and is capable of performing a first examination in conjunction with a health screening in the same location, unless circumstances indicate the respondent appears to be suffering a medical emergency in which case the law enforcement officer will seek immediate medical assistance for the respondent. If a commitment examiner is not available, whether on-site, on-call, or via telemedicine, at any facility or location, or if a plan has not been adopted, the person designated to provide transportation shall take the respondent to an alternative non-hospital provider or facility-based crisis center for a first examination in conjunction with a health screening at the same location. If no non-hospital provider or facility-based crisis center for a first examination in conjunction with a health screening at the same location, the person designated to provide transportations shall take the respondent to a private hospital or clinic, a general hospital, an acute care hospital, or a State facility for individuals with mental illnesses. If a commitment examiner is not immediately available, the respondent may be temporarily detained in an area facility if one is available; if an area facility is not available, the respondent may be detained under appropriate supervision, in the respondent's home, in a private hospital or a clinic, or in a general hospital, but not in a jail or other penal facility. For the purposes of this section, "non-hospital provider" means an outpatient provider that provides either behavioral health or medical services.

(b) The examination set forth in subsection (a) of this section is not required if:

(1) The affiant who obtained the custody order is a physician or eligible psychologist; or

(2) The respondent is in custody under the special emergency procedure described in G.S. 122C-282.

In these cases when it is recommended that the respondent be detained in a 24-hour facility, the law-enforcement officer shall take the respondent directly to a 24-hour facility described in G.S. 122C-252.

(c) The commitment examiner described in subsection (a) of this section shall examine the respondent as soon as possible, and in any event within 24 hours, after the respondent is presented for examination. The examination shall include but is not limited to an assessment of all of the following:

(1) The respondent's current and previous substance abuse including, if available, previous treatment history.

(2) The respondent's dangerousness to self or others as defined in G.S. 122C-3(11).

(d) After the conclusion of the examination the physician or eligible psychologist shall make the following determinations:

(1) If the physician or eligible psychologist finds that the respondent is a substance abuser and is dangerous to himself or others, he shall recommend commitment and whether the respondent should be released or be held at a 24-hour facility pending hearing and shall so show on [the] his examination report. Based on the physician's or eligible psychologist's recommendation the law-enforcement officer or other designated individual shall take the respondent to a 24-hour facility described in G.S. 122C-252 or release the respondent.

(2) If the physician or eligible psychologist finds that the condition described in subdivision (1) of this subsection does not exist, the respondent shall be released and the proceedings terminated.

(e) The findings of the physician or eligible psychologist and the facts on which they are based shall be in writing in all cases. A copy of the findings shall be sent to the clerk of superior court by the most reliable and expeditious means. If it cannot be reasonably anticipated that the clerk will receive the copy within 48 hours of the time that it was signed, the physician or eligible psychologist shall also communicate his findings to the clerk by telephone. (1973, c. 726, s. 1; c. 1408, s. 1; 1977, c. 400, s. 4; c. 679, s. 8; c. 739, s. 1; 1979, c. 358, s. 27; c. 915, s. 4; 1983, c. 380, ss. 4, 10; c. 638, ss. 6, 7, 25.1; c. 864, s. 4; 1985, c. 589, s. 2; c. 695, ss. 2, 9; 2018-33, s. 34; 2018-76, s. 3.2(b); 2019-177, s. 7(b).)