Family Justice

Navigating Emergency Custody Procedures in Virginia


In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricate world of emergency custody procedures in Virginia. Understanding how to obtain an emergency custody order is of paramount importance for individuals facing such situations. Here’s an overview of what this article will cover:

  • The purpose and scope of emergency custody procedures.
  • The significance of comprehending these procedures in Virginia.
  • A brief introduction to the relevant legal codes, namely VA. CODE ยงยง 37.2-808 and 37.2-817.2.

Background on Emergency Custody

To grasp emergency custody procedures fully, we first define what emergency custody entails. We explore the reasons that may lead to someone being taken into emergency custody and the roles of judges, special justices, magistrates, and law enforcement officers in this process.

Criteria for Emergency Custody

Understanding the criteria for emergency custody is pivotal. We delve into the primary factors, such as mental illness, the likelihood of causing harm to oneself or others, and the individual’s incapacity to protect themselves or meet their basic needs. We also discuss the necessity for hospitalization or treatment and the conditions under which an individual might be unwilling or incapable of volunteering for such care.

Process of Emergency Custody

The process of emergency custody is intricate and time-sensitive. We explore the steps involved, including transportation by law enforcement or alternative providers, evaluations at convenient locations, and the potential transfer to medical facilities for emergency medical evaluations. We highlight that emergency custody can last a maximum of 8 hours, making swift execution crucial.

Execution of Emergency Custody Orders

Executing emergency custody orders within the stipulated timeframe is imperative. We shed light on the notification requirements to the community services board, ensuring that the relevant authorities are promptly informed.


In conclusion, this article has provided a comprehensive understanding of emergency custody procedures in Virginia. It’s essential to grasp the nuances of this process, given its time-sensitive nature and potential implications for individuals taken into emergency custody. Stay informed and be prepared to navigate these procedures effectively when the need arises.

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