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Chapter 27     Entire Code
‹ Chapter 26  |  Chapter 28 › Printer Friendly Versions
Chapter 27  |  Article 27 - 5  |  Section 3
WVC 27- CHAPTER 27. MENTALLY ILL PERSONS.
WVC 27 - 5 - ARTICLE 5. INVOLUNTARY HOSPITALIZATION.

WVC 27 - 5 - 1 §27-5-1. Appointment of Mental Hygiene Commissioner; duties of Mental Hygiene Commissioner; duties of prosecuting attorney; duties of sheriff; duties of Supreme Court of Appeals; use of certified municipal law- enforcement officers.

          (a) Appointment of Mental Hygiene Commissioners. -- The chief judge in each judicial circuit of this state shall appoint a competent attorney and may, if necessary, appoint additional attorneys to serve as Mental Hygiene Commissioners to preside over involuntary hospitalization hearings. Mental Hygiene Commissioners shall be persons of good moral character and of standing in their profession and they shall, before assuming the duties of such commissioner, take the oath required of other special commissioners as provided in article one, chapter six of this code.

          All persons newly appointed to serve as Mental Hygiene Commissioners shall attend and complete an orientation course, within one year of their appointment, consisting of at least three days of training provided annually by the Supreme Court of Appeals. In addition, existing Mental Hygiene Commissioners and any magistrates designated by the chief judge of a judicial circuit to hold probable cause and emergency detention hearings involving involuntary hospitalization shall attend and complete a course provided by the Supreme Court of Appeals, which course shall include, but not be limited to, instruction on the manifestations of mental illness and addiction. Persons attending such courses outside the county of their residence shall be reimbursed out of the budget of the Supreme Court -- General Judicial for reasonable expenses incurred. The Supreme Court shall establish rules for such courses, including rules providing for the reimbursement of reasonable expenses as authorized herein.

          (b) Duties of Mental Hygiene Commissioners. --

          (1) Mental Hygiene Commissioners may sign and issue summonses for the attendance, at any hearing held pursuant to section four, article five of this chapter, of the individual sought to be committed; may sign and issue subpoenas for witnesses, including subpoenas duces tecum; may place any witness under oath; may elicit testimony from applicants, respondents and witnesses regarding factual issues raised in the petition; and may make findings of fact on evidence and may make conclusions of law, but such findings and conclusions shall not be binding on the circuit court. All Mental Hygiene Commissioners shall be reasonably compensated at a uniform rate determined by the Supreme Court of Appeals. Mental Hygiene Commissioners shall submit all requests for compensation to the administrative director of the courts for payment. Mental Hygiene Commissioners shall discharge their duties and hold their offices at the pleasure of the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which he or she is appointed and may be removed at any time by such chief judge. It shall be the duty of a Mental Hygiene Commissioner to conduct orderly inquiries into the mental health of the individual sought to be committed concerning the advisability of committing the individual to a mental health facility. The Mental Hygiene Commissioner shall safeguard, at all times, the rights and interests of the individual as well as the interests of the state. The Mental Hygiene Commissioner shall make a written report of his or her findings to the circuit court. In any proceedings before any court of record as set forth in this article, the court of record shall appoint an interpreter for any individual who is deaf or cannot speak or who speaks a foreign language and who may be subject to involuntary commitment to a mental health facility.

          (2) A Mental Hygiene Commissioner appointed by the circuit court of one county or multiple county circuit may serve in such capacity in a jurisdiction other than that of his or her original appointment if such be agreed upon by the terms of a cooperative agreement between the circuit courts and county commissions of two or more counties entered into to provide prompt resolution of mental hygiene matters during noncourt hours or on nonjudicial days.

          (c) Duties of prosecuting attorney. -- It shall be the duty of the prosecuting attorney or one of his or her assistants to represent the applicants in all final commitment proceedings filed pursuant to the provisions of this article. The prosecuting attorney may appear in any proceeding held pursuant to the provisions of this article if he or she deems it to be in the public interest.

          (d) Duties of sheriff. -- Upon written order of the circuit court, Mental Hygiene Commissioner or magistrate in the county where the individual formally accused of being mentally ill or addicted is a resident or is found, the sheriff of that county shall take said individual into custody and transport him or her to and from the place of hearing and the mental health facility. The sheriff shall also maintain custody and control of the accused individual during the period of time in which the individual is waiting for the involuntary commitment hearing to be convened and while such hearing is being conducted: Provided, That an individual who is a resident of a state other than West Virginia shall, upon a finding of probable cause, be transferred to his or her state of residence for treatment pursuant to subsection (p), section four of this article: Provided, however, That where an individual is a resident of West Virginia but not a resident of the county in which he or she is found and there is a finding of probable cause, the county in which the hearing is held may seek reimbursement from the county of residence for reasonable costs incurred by the county attendant to the mental hygiene proceeding. Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, sheriffs may enter into cooperative agreements with sheriffs of one or more other counties, with the concurrence of their respective circuit courts and county commissions, whereby transportation and security responsibilities for hearings held pursuant to the provisions of this article during noncourt hours or on nonjudicial days may be shared in order to facilitate prompt hearings and to effectuate transportation of persons found in need of treatment.

          (e) Duty of sheriff upon presentment to mental health care facility. -- Where a person is brought to a mental health care facility for purposes of evaluation for commitment under this article, if he or she is violent or combative, the sheriff or his or her designee shall maintain custody of the person in the facility until the evaluation is completed or the county commission shall reimburse the mental health care facility at a reasonable rate for security services provided by the mental health care facility for the period of time the person is at the hospital prior to the determination of mental competence or incompetence.

          (f) Duties of Supreme Court of Appeals. -- The Supreme Court of Appeals shall provide uniform petition, procedure and order forms which shall be used in all involuntary hospitalization proceedings brought in this state. WVC 27 - 5 - 1 A §27-5-1a. Appointment of attorney to aid prosecutor; certification of performance; fee.

If, in any case, the prosecuting attorney and his assistants in a county in which there is a state mental health hospital are unable to act due to a burdensome number of cases brought under this article, the circuit court shall appoint some competent practicing attorney to act in that case. The court shall certify to the director of the administrative office of the supreme court of appeals the performance of that service when completed and may allow the attorney a reasonable fee not to exceed the amount allowed for attorneys in defense of needy persons as provided in article twenty-one, chapter twenty-nine of this code. Compensation shall be paid out of the "mental hygiene fund" provided for in section four of this article.

WVC 27 - 5 - 2 §27-5-2. Institution of proceedings for involuntary custody for examination; custody; probable cause hearing; examination of individual.
(a) Any adult person may make an application for involuntary hospitalization for examination of an individual when the person making the application has reason to believe that the individual to be examined is addicted, as defined in section eleven, article one of this chapter, or is mentally ill and, because of his or her addiction or mental illness, the individual is likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or to others if allowed to remain at liberty while awaiting an examination and certification by a physician or psychologist.

Notwithstanding any language in this subsection to the contrary, if the individual to be examined under the provisions of this section is incarcerated in a jail, prison or other correctional facility, then only the chief administrative officer of the facility holding the individual may file the application and the application must include the additional statement that the correctional facility itself cannot reasonably provide treatment and other services for the individual's mental illness or addiction.

(b) The person making the application shall make the application under oath.

(c) Application for involuntary custody for examination may be made to the circuit court or a mental hygiene commissioner of the county in which the individual resides or of the county in which he or she may be found. When no circuit court judge or mental hygiene commissioner is available for immediate presentation of the application, the application may be made to a magistrate designated by the chief judge of the judicial circuit to accept applications and hold probable cause hearings. A designated magistrate before whom an application or matter is pending may, upon the availability of a mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge for immediate presentation of an application or pending matter, transfer the pending matter or application to the mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge for further proceedings unless otherwise ordered by the chief judge of the judicial circuit.

(d) The person making the application shall give information and state facts in the application as may be required by the form provided for this purpose by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

(e) The circuit court, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate may enter an order for the individual named in the application to be detained and taken into custody for the purpose of holding a probable cause hearing as provided in subsection (g) of this section for the purpose of an examination of the individual by a physician, psychologist, a licensed independent clinical social worker practicing in compliance with article thirty, chapter thirty of this code, an advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification practicing in compliance with article seven of said chapter, a physician assistant practicing in compliance with article three of said chapter or a physician assistant practicing in compliance with article fourteen-a of said chapter: Provided, That a licensed independent clinical social worker, a physician assistant or an advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification may only perform the examination if he or she has previously been authorized by an order of the circuit court to do so, the order having found that the licensed independent clinical social worker, physician assistant or advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification has particularized expertise in the areas of mental health and mental hygiene or addiction sufficient to make the determinations as are required by the provisions of this section. The examination is to be provided or arranged by a community mental health center designated by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources to serve the county in which the action takes place. The order is to specify that the hearing be held forthwith and is to provide for the appointment of counsel for the individual: Provided, however, That the order may allow the hearing to be held up to twenty-four hours after the person to be examined is taken into custody rather than forthwith if the circuit court of the county in which the person is found has previously entered a standing order which establishes within that jurisdiction a program for placement of persons awaiting a hearing which assures the safety and humane treatment of persons: Provided further, That the time requirements set forth in this subsection only apply to persons who are not in need of medical care for a physical condition or disease for which the need for treatment precludes the ability to comply with the time requirements. During periods of holding and detention authorized by this subsection, upon consent of the individual or in the event of a medical or psychiatric emergency, the individual may receive treatment. The medical provider shall exercise due diligence in determining the individual's existing medical needs and provide treatment the individual requires, including previously prescribed medications. As used in this section, "psychiatric emergency" means an incident during which an individual loses control and behaves in a manner that poses substantial likelihood of physical harm to himself, herself or others. Where a physician, psychologist, licensed independent clinical social worker, physician assistant or advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification has within the preceding seventy-two hours performed the examination required by the provisions of this subdivision, the community mental health center may waive the duty to perform or arrange another examination upon approving the previously performed examination. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, subsection (r), section four of this article applies regarding payment by the county commission for examinations at hearings. If the examination reveals that the individual is not mentally ill or addicted or is determined to be mentally ill or addicted but not likely to cause harm to himself, herself or others, the individual shall be immediately released without the need for a probable cause hearing and absent a finding of professional negligence the examiner is not civilly liable for the rendering of the opinion absent a finding of professional negligence. The examiner shall immediately provide the mental hygiene commissioner, circuit court or designated magistrate before whom the matter is pending the results of the examination on the form provided for this purpose by the Supreme Court of Appeals for entry of an order reflecting the lack of probable cause.

(f) A probable cause hearing is to be held before a magistrate designated by the chief judge of the judicial circuit, the mental hygiene commissioner or circuit judge of the county of which the individual is a resident or where he or she was found. If requested by the individual or his or her counsel, the hearing may be postponed for a period not to exceed forty-eight hours.

The individual must be present at the hearing and has the right to present evidence, confront all witnesses and other evidence against him or her and to examine testimony offered, including testimony by representatives of the community mental health center serving the area. Expert testimony at the hearing may be taken telephonically or via videoconferencing. The individual has the right to remain silent and to be proceeded against in accordance with the Rules of Evidence of the Supreme Court of Appeals, except as provided in section twelve, article one of this chapter. At the conclusion of the hearing, the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge shall find and enter an order stating whether or not there is probable cause to believe that the individual, as a result of mental illness or addiction, is likely to cause serious harm to himself or herself or to others.

(g) Probable cause hearings may occur in the county where a person is hospitalized. The judicial hearing officer may: Use videoconferencing and telephonic technology; permit persons hospitalized for addiction to be involuntarily hospitalized only until detoxification is accomplished; and specify other alternative or modified procedures that are consistent with the purposes and provisions of this article. The alternative or modified procedures shall fully and effectively guarantee to the person who is the subject of the involuntary commitment proceeding and other interested parties due process of the law and access to the least restrictive available treatment needed to prevent serious harm to self or others.

(h) If the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge at a probable cause hearing or at a final commitment hearing held pursuant to the provisions of section four of this article finds that the individual, as a result of mental illness or addiction, is likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or others and because of mental illness or addiction requires treatment, the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge may consider evidence on the question of whether the individual's circumstances make him or her amenable to outpatient treatment in a nonresidential or nonhospital setting pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement. The agreement is to be in writing and approved by the individual, his or her counsel and the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge. If the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge determines that appropriate outpatient treatment is available in a nonresidential or nonhospital setting, the individual may be released to outpatient treatment upon the terms and conditions of the voluntary treatment agreement. The failure of an individual released to outpatient treatment pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement to comply with the terms of the voluntary treatment agreement constitutes evidence that outpatient treatment is insufficient and, after a hearing before a magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit judge on the issue of whether or not the individual failed or refused to comply with the terms and conditions of the voluntary treatment agreement and whether the individual as a result of mental illness or addiction remains likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or others, the entry of an order requiring admission under involuntary hospitalization pursuant to the provisions of section three of this article may be entered. In the event a person released pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement is unable to pay for the outpatient treatment and has no applicable insurance coverage, including, but not limited to, private insurance or Medicaid, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources may transfer funds for the purpose of reimbursing community providers for services provided on an outpatient basis for individuals for whom payment for treatment is the responsibility of the department: Provided, That the department may not authorize payment of outpatient services for an individual subject to a voluntary treatment agreement in an amount in excess of the cost of involuntary hospitalization of the individual. The secretary shall establish and maintain fee schedules for outpatient treatment provided in lieu of involuntary hospitalization. Nothing in the provisions of this article regarding release pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement or convalescent status may be construed as creating a right to receive outpatient mental health services or treatment or as obligating any person or agency to provide outpatient services or treatment. Time limitations set forth in this article relating to periods of involuntary commitment to a mental health facility for hospitalization do not apply to release pursuant to the terms of a voluntary treatment agreement: Provided, however, That release pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement may not be for a period of more than six months if the individual has not been found to be involuntarily committed during the previous two years and for a period of no more than two years if the individual has been involuntarily committed during the preceding two years. If in any proceeding held pursuant to this article the individual objects to the issuance or conditions and terms of an order adopting a voluntary treatment agreement, then the circuit judge, magistrate or mental hygiene commissioner may not enter an order directing treatment pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement. If involuntary commitment with release pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement is ordered, the individual subject to the order may, upon request during the period the order is in effect, have a hearing before a mental hygiene commissioner or circuit judge where the individual may seek to have the order canceled or modified. Nothing in this section affects the appellate and habeas corpus rights of any individual subject to any commitment order.

(i) If the certifying physician or psychologist determines that a person requires involuntary hospitalization for an addiction to a substance which, due to the degree of addiction, creates a reasonable likelihood that withdrawal or detoxification from the substance of addiction will cause significant medical complications, the person certifying the individual shall recommend that the individual be closely monitored for possible medical complications. If the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge presiding orders involuntary hospitalization, he or she shall include a recommendation that the individual be closely monitored in the order of commitment.

(j) The Supreme Court of Appeals and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources shall specifically develop and propose a statewide system for evaluation and adjudication of mental hygiene petitions which shall include payment schedules and recommendations regarding funding sources. Additionally, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources shall also immediately seek reciprocal agreements with officials in contiguous states to develop interstate/intergovernmental agreements to provide efficient and efficacious services to out-of-state residents found in West Virginia and who are in need of mental hygiene services.

WVC 27 - 5 - 2 A §27-5-2a.

Repealed.

Acts, 1979 Reg. Sess., Ch. 69.

WVC 27 - 5 - 3 §27-5-3. Admission under involuntary hospitalization for examination; hearing; release.
(a) Admission to a mental health facility for examination. -- Any individual may be admitted to a mental health facility for examination and treatment upon entry of an order finding probable cause as provided in section two of this article and upon certification by a physician, psychologist, licensed independent clinical social worker practicing in compliance with the provisions of article thirty, chapter thirty of this code or an advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification practicing in compliance with article seven of said chapter that he or she has examined the individual and is of the opinion that the individual is mentally ill or addicted and, because of such mental illness or addiction, is likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or to others if not immediately restrained: Provided, That the opinions offered by an independent clinical social worker or an advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification must be within their particular areas of expertise, as recognized by the order of the authorizing court.

(b) Three-day time limitation on examination. -- If the examination does not take place within three days from the date the individual is taken into custody, the individual shall be released. If the examination reveals that the individual is not mentally ill or addicted, the individual shall be released.

(c) Three-day time limitation on certification. -- The certification required in subsection (a) of this section shall be valid for three days. Any individual with respect to whom the certification has been issued may not be admitted on the basis of the certification at any time after the expiration of three days from the date of the examination.

(d) Findings and conclusions required for certification. -- A certification under this section must include findings and conclusions of the mental examination, the date, time and place of the examination and the facts upon which the conclusion that involuntary commitment is necessary is based.

(e) Notice requirements. -- When an individual is admitted to a mental health facility pursuant to the provisions of this section, the chief medical officer of the facility shall immediately give notice of the individual's admission to the individual's spouse, if any, and one of the individual's parents or guardians or if there is no spouse and are no parents or guardians, to one of the individual's adult next of kin if the next of kin is not the applicant. Notice shall also be given to the community mental health facility, if any, having jurisdiction in the county of the individual's residence. The notices other than to the community mental health facility shall be in writing and shall be transmitted to the person or persons at his, her or their last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested.

(f) Five-day time limitation for examination and certification at mental health facility. -- After the individual's admission to a mental health facility, he or she may not be detained more than five days, excluding Sundays and holidays, unless, within the period, the individual is examined by a staff physician and the physician certifies that in his or her opinion the patient is mentally ill or addicted and is likely to injure himself, herself or others if allowed to be at liberty.

(g) Fifteen-day time limitation for institution of final commitment proceedings. -- If, in the opinion of the examining physician, the patient is mentally ill or addicted and because of the mental illness or addiction is likely to injure himself, herself or others if allowed to be at liberty, the chief medical officer shall, within fifteen days from the date of admission, institute final commitment proceedings as provided in section four of this article. If the proceedings are not instituted within such fifteen-day period, the patient shall be immediately released. After the request for hearing is filed, the hearing may not be canceled on the basis that the individual has become a voluntary patient unless the mental hygiene commissioner concurs in the motion for cancellation of the hearing.

(h) Thirty-day time limitation for conclusion of all proceedings. -- If all proceedings as provided in articles three and four of this chapter are not completed within thirty days from the date of institution of the proceedings, the patient shall be immediately released.

WVC 27 - 5 - 4 §27-5-4. Institution of final commitment proceedings; hearing requirements; release.

     (a) Involuntary commitment. -- Except as provided in section three of this article, no individual may be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility except by order entered of record at any time by the circuit court of the county in which the person resides or was found, or if the individual is hospitalized in a mental health facility located in a county other than where he or she resides or was found, in the county of the mental health facility and then only after a full hearing on issues relating to the necessity of committing an individual to a mental health facility. If the individual objects to the hearing being held in the county where the mental health facility is located, the hearing shall be conducted in the county of the individual's residence.

     (b) How final commitment proceedings are commenced. -- Final commitment proceedings for an individual may be commenced by the filing of a written application under oath by an adult person having personal knowledge of the facts of the case. The certificate or affidavit is filed with the clerk of the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner of the county where the individual is a resident or where he or she may be found or the county of a mental health facility if he or she is hospitalized in a mental health facility located in a county other than where he or she resides or may be found.

     (c) Oath; contents of application; who may inspect application; when application cannot be filed. --

     (1) The person making the application shall do so under oath.

     (2) The application shall contain statements by the applicant that the individual is likely to cause serious harm to self or others due to what the applicant believes are symptoms of mental illness or addiction. The applicant shall state in detail the recent overt acts upon which the belief is based.

     (3) The written application, certificate, affidavit and any warrants issued pursuant thereto, including any related documents, filed with a circuit court, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate for the involuntary hospitalization of an individual are not open to inspection by any person other than the individual, unless authorized by the individual or his or her legal representative or by order of the circuit court. The records may not be published unless authorized by the individual or his or her legal representative. Disclosure of these records may, however, be made by the clerk, circuit court, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate to provide notice to the Federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System established pursuant to section 103(d) of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. §922, and the central state mental health registry, in accordance with article seven-a, chapter sixty-one of this code. Disclosure may also be made to the prosecuting attorney and reviewing court in an action brought by the individual pursuant to section five, article seven-a, chapter sixty-one of this code to regain firearm and ammunition rights.

     (4) Applications may not be accepted for individuals who only have epilepsy, a mental deficiency or senility.

     (d) Certificate filed with application; contents of certificate; affidavit by applicant in place of certificate. --

     (1) The applicant shall file with his or her application the certificate of a physician or a psychologist stating that in his or her opinion the individual is mentally ill or addicted and that because of the mental illness or addiction, the individual is likely to cause serious harm to self or others if allowed to remain at liberty and, therefore, should be hospitalized. The certificate shall state in detail the recent overt acts on which the conclusion is based.

     (2) A certificate is not necessary when an affidavit is filed by the applicant showing facts and the individual has refused to submit to examination by a physician or a psychologist.

     (e) Notice requirements; eight days notice required. -- Upon receipt of an application, the mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court shall review the application and if it is determined that the facts alleged, if any, are sufficient to warrant involuntary hospitalization, forthwith fix a date for and have the clerk of the circuit court give notice of the hearing:

     (1) To the individual;

     (2) To the applicant or applicants;

     (3) To the individual's spouse, one of the parents or guardians, or, if the individual does not have a spouse, parents or parent or guardian, to one of the individual's adult next of kin if the next of kin is not the applicant;

     (4) To the mental health authorities serving the area;

     (5) To the circuit court in the county of the individual's residence if the hearing is to be held in a county other than that of the individual's residence; and

     (6) To the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the hearing is to be held.

     (f) The notice shall be served on the individual by personal service of process not less than eight days prior to the date of the hearing and shall specify:

     (1) The nature of the charges against the individual;

     (2) The facts underlying and supporting the application of involuntary commitment;

     (3) The right to have counsel appointed;

     (4) The right to consult with and be represented by counsel at every stage of the proceedings; and

     (5) The time and place of the hearing.

     The notice to the individual's spouse, parents or parent or guardian, the individual's adult next of kin or to the circuit court in the county of the individual's residence may be by personal service of process or by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, and shall state the time and place of the hearing.

     (g) Examination of individual by court-appointed physician or psychologist; custody for examination; dismissal of proceedings. --

     (1) Except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, within a reasonable time after notice of the commencement of final commitment proceedings is given, the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall appoint a physician or psychologist to examine the individual and report to the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner his or her findings as to the mental condition or addiction of the individual and the likelihood of causing serious harm to self or others.

     (2) If the designated physician or psychologist reports to the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner that the individual has refused to submit to an examination, the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall order him or her to submit to the examination. The circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner may direct that the individual be detained or taken into custody for the purpose of an immediate examination by the designated physician or psychologist. All such orders shall be directed to the sheriff of the county or other appropriate law-enforcement officer. After the examination has been completed, the individual shall be released from custody unless proceedings are instituted pursuant to section three of this article.

     (3) If the reports of the appointed physician or psychologist do not confirm that the individual is mentally ill or addicted and might be harmful to self or others, then the proceedings for involuntary hospitalization shall be dismissed.

     (h) Rights of the individual at the final commitment hearing; seven days' notice to counsel required. --

     (1) The individual shall be present at the final commitment hearing and he or she, the applicant and all persons entitled to notice of the hearing shall be afforded an opportunity to testify and to present and cross-examine witnesses.

     (2) In the event the individual has not retained counsel, the court or mental hygiene commissioner, at least six days prior to hearing, shall appoint a competent attorney and shall inform the individual of the name, address and telephone number of his or her appointed counsel.

     (3) The individual has the right to have an examination by an independent expert of his or her choice and to present testimony from the expert as a medical witness on his or her behalf. The cost of the independent expert is paid by the individual unless he or she is indigent.

     (4) The individual may not be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself.

     (i) Duties of counsel representing individual; payment of counsel representing indigent. -

     (1) Counsel representing an individual shall conduct a timely interview, make investigation and secure appropriate witnesses, be present at the hearing and protect the interests of the individual.

     (2) Counsel representing an individual is entitled to copies of all medical reports, psychiatric or otherwise.

     (3) The circuit court, by order of record, may allow the attorney a reasonable fee not to exceed the amount allowed for attorneys in defense of needy persons as provided in article twenty-one, chapter twenty-nine of this code.

     (j) Conduct of hearing; receipt of evidence; no evidentiary privilege; record of hearing. --

     (1) The circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall hear evidence from all interested parties in chamber including testimony from representatives of the community mental health facility.

     (2) The circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall receive all relevant and material evidence which may be offered.

     (3) The circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner is bound by the rules of evidence promulgated by the Supreme Court of Appeals except that statements made to physicians or psychologists by the individual may be admitted into evidence by the physician's or psychologist's testimony, notwithstanding failure to inform the individual that this statement may be used against him or her. A psychologist or physician testifying shall bring all records pertaining to the individual to the hearing. The medical evidence obtained pursuant to an examination under this section, or section two or three of this article, is not privileged information for purposes of a hearing pursuant to this section.

     (4) All final commitment proceedings shall be reported or recorded, whether before the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner, and a transcript made available to the individual, his or her counsel or the prosecuting attorney within thirty days if requested for the purpose of further proceedings. In any case where an indigent person intends to pursue further proceedings, the circuit court shall, by order entered of record, authorize and direct the court reporter to furnish a transcript of the hearings.

     (k) Requisite findings by the court. --

     (1) Upon completion of the final commitment hearing and the evidence presented in the hearing, the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall make findings as to the following:

     (A) Whether the individual is mentally ill or addicted;

     (B) Whether, because of illness or addiction, the individual is likely to cause serious harm to self or others if allowed to remain at liberty;

     (C) Whether the individual is a resident of the county in which the hearing is held or currently is a patient at a mental health facility in the county; and

     (D) Whether there is a less restrictive alternative than commitment appropriate for the individual. The burden of proof of the lack of a less restrictive alternative than commitment is on the person or persons seeking the commitment of the individual.      (2) The findings of fact shall be incorporated into the order entered by the circuit court and must be based upon clear, cogent and convincing proof.

     (l) Orders issued pursuant to final commitment hearing; entry of order; change in order of court; expiration of order. --      (1) Upon the requisite findings, the circuit court may order the individual to a mental health facility for an indeterminate period or for a temporary observatory period not exceeding six months.

     (2) The individual may not be detained in a mental health facility for a period in excess of ten days after a final commitment hearing pursuant to this section unless an order has been entered and received by the facility.

     (3) If the order pursuant to a final commitment hearing is for a temporary observation period, the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner may, at any time prior to the expiration of such period on the basis of a report by the chief medical officer of the mental health facility in which the patient is confined, hold another hearing pursuant to the terms of this section and in the same manner as the hearing was held as if it were an original petition for involuntary hospitalization to determine whether the original order for a temporary observation period should be modified or changed to an order of indeterminate hospitalization of the patient. At the conclusion of the hearing, the circuit court shall order indeterminate hospitalization of the patient or dismissal of the proceedings.

     (4) An order for an indeterminate period expires of its own terms at the expiration of two years from the date of the last order of commitment unless prior to the expiration, the Department of Health and Human Resources, upon findings based on an examination of the patient by a physician or a psychologist, extends the order for indeterminate hospitalization. If the patient or his or her counsel requests a hearing, a hearing shall be held by the mental hygiene commissioner or by the circuit court of the county as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

     (m) Dismissal of proceedings. -- If the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner finds that the individual is not mentally ill or addicted, the proceedings shall be dismissed. If the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner finds that the individual is mentally ill or addicted but is not, because of the illness or addiction, likely to cause serious harm to self or others if allowed to remain at liberty, the proceedings shall be dismissed.

     (n) Immediate notification of order of hospitalization. -- The clerk of the circuit court in which an order directing hospitalization is entered, if not in the county of the individual's residence, shall immediately upon entry of the order forward a certified copy of the order to the clerk of the circuit court of the county of which the individual is a resident.

     (o) Consideration of transcript by circuit court of county of individual's residence; order of hospitalization; execution of order. --

     (1) If the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner is satisfied that hospitalization should be ordered but finds that the individual is not a resident of the county in which the hearing is held and the individual is not currently a resident of a mental health facility, a transcript of the evidence adduced at the final commitment hearing of the individual, certified by the clerk of the circuit court, shall forthwith be forwarded to the clerk of the circuit court of the county of which the individual is a resident. The clerk shall immediately present the transcript to the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner of the county.

     (2) If the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner of the county of the residence of the individual is satisfied from the evidence contained in the transcript that the individual should be hospitalized as determined by the standard set forth above, the circuit court shall order the appropriate hospitalization as though the individual had been brought before the circuit court or its mental hygiene commissioner in the first instance.

     (3) This order shall be transmitted forthwith to the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the hearing was held who shall execute the order promptly.

     (p) Order of custody to responsible person. -- In lieu of ordering the patient to a mental health facility, the circuit court may order the individual delivered to some responsible person who will agree to take care of the individual and the circuit court may take from the responsible person a bond in an amount to be determined by the circuit court with condition to restrain and take proper care of the individual until further order of the court.

     (q) Individual not a resident of this state. -- If the individual found to be mentally ill or addicted by the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner is a resident of another state, this information shall be forthwith given to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, or to his or her designee, who shall make appropriate arrangements for transfer of the individual to the state of his or her residence conditioned on the agreement of the individual except as qualified by the interstate compact on mental health.

     (r) Report to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources. --

     (1) The chief medical officer of a mental health facility admitting a patient pursuant to proceedings under this section shall forthwith make a report of the admission to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources or to his or her designee.

     (2) Whenever an individual is released from custody due to the failure of an employee of a mental health facility to comply with the time requirements of this article, the chief medical officer of the mental health facility shall forthwith, after the release of the individual, make a report to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources or to his or her designee of the failure to comply.

     (s) Payment of some expenses by the state; mental hygiene fund established; expenses paid by the county commission. --

     (1) The state shall pay the commissioner's fee and the court reporter fees that are not paid and reimbursed under article twenty-one, chapter twenty-nine of this code out of a special fund to be established within the Supreme Court of Appeals to be known as the Mental Hygiene Fund.

     (2) The county commission shall pay out of the county treasury all other expenses incurred in the hearings conducted under the provisions of this article whether or not hospitalization is ordered, including any fee allowed by the circuit court by order entered of record for any physician, psychologist and witness called by the indigent individual. The copying and mailing costs associated with providing notice of the final commitment hearing and issuance of the final order shall be paid by the county where the involuntary commitment petition was initially filed. WVC 27 - 5 - 5 §27-5-5. Judicial review.

Any individual adversely affected by any order of commitment entered by the circuit court under this article may seek review thereof by appeal to the state supreme court of appeals and jurisdiction is hereby conferred upon such court to hear and entertain such appeals upon application made therefor in the manner and within the time provided by law for civil appeals generally.

This section shall not be construed to in any way limit or precondition the right to seek release of such individual by habeas corpus.

WVC 27 - 5 - 6 §27-5-6.

Repealed.

Acts, 1979 Reg. Sess., Ch. 69.

WVC 27 - 5 - 7 §27-5-7. Hospitalization by agency of the United States.

If an individual ordered to be hospitalized pursuant to section four of this article is eligible for hospital care or treatment by any agency of the United States, then, upon receipt of a certificate from such agency showing that facilities are available and that the individual is eligible for care or treatment therein, the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner may order him to be placed in the custody of such agency for hospitalization. When any such individual is admitted pursuant to the order of such circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner to any hospital or institution established, maintained or operated by any agency of the United States within or without the state, he shall be subject to the rules and regulations of such agency. The chief officer of any hospital or institution operated by such agency and in which the individual is so hospitalized shall, with respect to such individual, be vested with the same powers as the chief medical officers of mental health facilities or the director of health within this state with respect to detention, custody, transfer, conditional release or discharge of patients. Jurisdiction is retained in the appropriate circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner of this state at any time to inquire into the mental condition of an individual so hospitalized, and to determine the necessity for continuance of his hospitalization, and every order of hospitalization issued pursuant to this section is so conditioned.

WVC 27 - 5 - 8 §27-5-8.

Repealed.

Acts, 1979 Reg. Sess., Ch. 69.

WVC 27 - 5 - 9 §27-5-9. Rights of patients.
(a) No person may be deprived of any civil right solely by reason of his or her receipt of services for mental illness, intellectual disability or addiction, nor does the receipt of the services modify or vary any civil right of the person, including, but not limited to, civil service status and appointment, the right to register for and to vote at elections, the right to acquire and to dispose of property, the right to execute instruments or rights relating to the granting, forfeiture or denial of a license, permit, privilege or benefit pursuant to any law, but a person who has been adjudged incompetent pursuant to article eleven of this chapter and who has not been restored to legal competency may be deprived of such rights. Involuntary commitment pursuant to this article does not of itself relieve the patient of legal capacity.

(b) Each patient of a mental health facility receiving services from the facility shall receive care and treatment that is suited to his or her needs and administered in a skillful, safe and humane manner with full respect for his or her dignity and personal integrity.

(c) Every patient has the following rights regardless of adjudication of incompetency:

(1) Treatment by trained personnel;

(2) Careful and periodic psychiatric reevaluation no less frequently than once every three months;

(3) Periodic physical examination by a physician no less frequently than once every six months; and

(4) Treatment based on appropriate examination and diagnosis by a staff member operating within the scope of his or her professional license.

(d) The chief medical officer shall cause to be developed within the clinical record of each patient a written treatment plan based on initial medical and psychiatric examination not later than seven days after he or she is admitted for treatment. The treatment plan shall be updated periodically, consistent with reevaluation of the patient. Failure to accord the patient the requisite periodic examinations or treatment plan and reevaluations entitles the patient to release.

(e) A clinical record shall be maintained at a mental health facility for each patient treated by the facility. The record shall contain information on all matters relating to the admission, legal status, care and treatment of the patient and shall include all pertinent documents relating to the patient. Specifically, the record shall contain results of periodic examinations, individualized treatment programs, evaluations and reevaluations, orders for treatment, orders for application for mechanical restraint and accident reports, all signed by the personnel involved.

(f) Every patient, upon his or her admission to a hospital and at any other reasonable time, shall be given a copy of the rights afforded by this section.

(g) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to protect the personal rights of patients not inconsistent with this section.

WVC 27 - 5 - 10 §27-5-10. Transportation for the mentally ill or substance abuser.
(a) Whenever transportation of an individual is required under the provisions of article four or five of this chapter, it shall be the duty of the sheriff to provide immediate transportation to or from the appropriate mental health facility or state hospital: Provided, That, where hospitalization occurs pursuant to article four of this chapter, the sheriff may permit, upon the written request of a person having proper interest in the individual's hospitalization, for the interested person to arrange for the individual's transportation to the mental health facility or state hospital if the sheriff determines that such means are suitable given the individual's condition.

(b) Upon written agreement between the county commission on behalf of the sheriff and the directors of the local community mental health center and emergency medical services, an alternative transportation program may be arranged. The agreement shall clearly define the responsibilities of each of the parties, the requirements for program participation and the persons bearing ultimate responsibility for the individual's safety and well-being.

(c) Use of certified municipal law-enforcement officers. -- Sheriffs and municipal governments are hereby authorized to enter into written agreements whereby certified municipal law-enforcement officers may perform the duties of the sheriff as described in this article. The agreement shall determine jurisdiction, responsibility of costs and all other necessary requirements, including training related to the performance of these duties, and shall be approved by the county commission and circuit court of the county in which the agreement is made. For purposes of this subsection, "certified municipal law-enforcement officer" means any duly authorized member of a municipal law-enforcement agency who is empowered to maintain public peace and order, make arrests and enforce the laws of this state or any political subdivision thereof, other than parking ordinances, and who is currently certified as a law-enforcement officer pursuant to article twenty-nine, chapter thirty of this code.

(d) Nothing in this section is intended to alter security responsibilities for the patient by the sheriff unless mutually agreed upon as provided in subsection (c) of this section.

WVC 27 - 5 - 11 §27-5-11. Modified procedures for temporary compliance orders for certain medication dependent persons with prior hospitalizations or convictions; instituting modified mental hygiene procedures; establishing procedures; providing for forms and reports.

     (a) The Supreme Court of Appeals shall, in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources and local mental health services consumers and providers, implement throughout the state modified mental hygiene procedures that are consistent with the requirements set forth in this section. The judicial circuits selected for implementing the modified procedures shall be circuits in which the Supreme Court of Appeals determines, after consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources and local mental health consumers and service providers, that adequate resources will be available to implement the modified procedures. After July 1, 2012, the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources in consultation with local mental health consumers and providers may add programs for modified mental hygiene procedures in any judicial circuit that establishes a need for the same.

     (b) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, after consultation with the Supreme Court of Appeals and local mental health services consumers and service providers, shall prescribe appropriate forms to implement the modified procedures and shall annually prepare reports on the efficacy of the modified procedures and transmit the report to the Legislature on or before the first day of the 2013 and 2014 regular sessions of the Legislature.

     (c) The Supreme Court of Appeals may, after consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources and local mental health services consumers and providers further modify any specific modified procedures that are implemented pursuant to this section. The modified procedures must be consistent with the requirements of this chapter and this section. If the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources determines that the use of any modified procedure in one or more judicial circuits is placing an unacceptable additional burden upon state mental health resources, the Supreme Court of Appeals shall, in consultation with the secretary, modify the procedures used in such a fashion as will address the concerns of the secretary, consistent with the requirements of this chapter. The provisions of this section and the modified procedures thereby authorized shall cease to have any force and effect on June 30, 2014, unless extended by an act of the Legislature prior to that date.

     (1) The modified procedures shall authorize that a verified petition seeking a treatment compliance order may be filed by any person alleging:

     (A) That an individual, on two or more occasions within a twenty-four month period prior to the filing of the petition, as a result of mental illness or addiction or both, has been hospitalized pursuant to the provisions of this chapter; or that the individual has been convicted of one or more crimes of violence against the person within a twenty-four month period prior to the filing of the petition and the individual's failure to take prescribed medication or follow another prescribed regimen to treat a mental illness or addiction or both was a significant aggravating or contributing factor in the circumstances surrounding the crime;

     (B) That the individual?s previous hospitalizations due to mental illness or addiction or both or the individual's crime of violence occurred after or as a result of the individual?s failure to take medication or other treatment as prescribed by a physician to treat the individual?s mental illness or addiction or both; and      (C) That the individual, in the absence of a court order requiring him or her to take medication or other treatment as prescribed, is unlikely to do so and that his or her failure to take medication or follow other regimen or treatment as prescribed is likely to lead to further instances in the reasonably near future in which the individual becomes likely to cause serious harm or commit a crime of violence against the person.

     (2) Upon the filing of a petition seeking a treatment compliance order and the petition?s review by a circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner, counsel shall be appointed for the individual if the individual does not already have counsel and a copy of the petition and all supporting evidence shall be furnished to the individual and their counsel. If the circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner determines on the basis of the petition that it is necessary to protect the individual or to secure their examination, a detention order may be entered ordering that the individual be taken into custody and examined by a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist. A hearing on the allegations in the petition, which may be combined with a hearing on a probable cause petition conducted pursuant to the provisions of section two of this article or a final commitment hearing conducted pursuant to the provisions of section four of this article, shall be held before a circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner. If the individual is taken into custody and remains in custody as a result of a detention order, the hearing shall be held within forty-eight hours of the time that the individual is taken into custody.

     (3) If the allegations in the petition seeking a treatment compliance order are proved by the evidence adduced at the hearing, which must include expert testimony by a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist, the circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner may enter a treatment compliance order for a period not to exceed six months upon making the following findings:

     (A) That the individual is eighteen years of age or older;

     (B) That on two or more occasions within a twenty-four month period prior to the filing of the petition an individual, as a result of mental illness, has been hospitalized pursuant to the provisions of this chapter; or that on at least one occasion within a twenty-four month period prior to the filing of the petition has been convicted of a crime of violence against any person;

     (C) That the individual's previous hospitalizations due to mental illness or addiction or both occurred as a result of the individual's failure to take prescribed medication or follow a regimen or course of treatment as prescribed by a physician or psychiatrist to treat the individual's mental illness or addiction; or that the individual has been convicted for crimes of violence against any person and the individual's failure to take medication or follow a prescribed regimen or course of treatment of the individual's mental illness or addiction or both was a significant aggravating or contributing factor in the commission of the crime;

     (D) That a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist who has personally examined the individual within the preceding twenty-four months has issued a written opinion that the individual, without the aid of the medication or other prescribed treatment, is likely to cause serious harm to himself or herself or to others;

     (E) That the individual, in the absence of a court order requiring him or her to take medication or other treatment as prescribed, is unlikely to do so and that his or her failure to take medication or other treatment as prescribed is likely to lead to further instances in the reasonably near future in which the individual becomes likely to cause serious harm or commit a crime of violence against any person;

     (F) That, where necessary, a responsible entity or individual is available to assist and monitor the individual's compliance with an order requiring the individual to take the medication or follow other prescribed regimen or course of treatment;

     (G) That the individual can obtain and take the prescribed medication or follow other prescribed regimen or course of treatment without undue financial or other hardship; and

     (H) That, if necessary, a medical provider is available to assess the individual within forty-eight hours of the entry of the treatment compliance order.

     (4) The order may require an individual to take medication and treatment as prescribed and if appropriate to attend scheduled medication and treatment-related appointments: Provided, That a treatment compliance order shall be subject to termination or modification by a circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner if a petition is filed seeking termination or modification of the order and it is shown in a hearing on the petition that there has been a material change in the circumstances that led to the entry of the original order that justifies the order?s modification or termination: Provided, however, That a treatment compliance order may be extended by a circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner for additional periods of time not to exceed six months, upon the filing of a petition seeking an extension and after a hearing on the petition or upon the agreement of the individual.

     (5) After the entry of a treatment compliance order in accordance with the provisions of subdivisions (3) and (4) of this subsection if a verified petition is filed alleging that an individual has not complied with the terms of a medication and treatment compliance order and if a circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner determines from the petition and any supporting evidence that there is probable cause to believe that the allegations in the petition are true, counsel shall be appointed for the individual and a copy of the petition and all supporting evidence shall be furnished to the individual and his or her counsel. If the circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner considers it necessary to protect the individual or to secure his or her examination, a detention order may be entered to require that the individual be examined by a psychiatrist or psychologist.      (A) A hearing on the allegations in the petition, which may be combined with a hearing on a probable cause petition conducted pursuant to section two of this article or a final commitment hearing conducted pursuant to section four of this article, shall be held before a circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner. If the individual is taken and remains in custody as a result of a detention order, the hearing shall be held within forty-eight hours of the time that the individual is taken into custody.

     (B) At a hearing on any petition filed pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (A) of this subdivision, the circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner shall determine whether the individual has complied with the terms of the medication and treatment compliance order. If the individual has complied with the order, the petition shall be dismissed. If the evidence presented to the circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner shows that the individual has complied with the terms of the existing order, but the individual's prescribed medication, dosage or course of treatment needs to be modified, then the newly modified medication and treatment prescribed by a psychiatrist who personally examined the individual may be properly incorporated into a modified order. If the order has not been complied with, the circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner, after inquiring into the reasons for noncompliance and whether any aspects of the order should be modified, may continue the individual upon the terms of the original order and direct the individual to comply with the order or may modify the order in light of the evidence presented at the hearing. If the evidence shows that the individual at the time of the hearing is likely to cause serious harm to himself or herself, herself or others as a result of the individual?s mental illness, the circuit judge or mental hygiene commissioner may convert the proceeding into a probable cause proceeding and enter a probable cause order directing the involuntary admission of the individual to a mental health facility for examination and treatment. Any procedures conducted pursuant to this subsection must comply with and satisfy all applicable due process and hearing requirements of sections two and three of this article.

     (d) The modified procedures may authorize that upon the certification of a qualified mental health professional, as described in subsection (e) of this section, that there is probable cause to believe that an individual who has been hospitalized two or more times in the previous twenty-four months because of mental illness is likely to cause serious harm to himself or herself, herself or to others as a result of the mental illness if not immediately restrained and that the best interests of the individual would be served by immediate hospitalization, a circuit judge, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate may enter a temporary probable cause order directing the involuntary hospitalization of the individual at a mental health facility for immediate examination and treatment.

     (e) The modified procedures may authorize the chief judge of a judicial circuit, or circuit judge if there is no chief judge, to enter orders authorizing specific psychiatrists or licensed psychologists, whose qualifications and training have been reviewed and approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals, to issue certifications that authorize and direct the involuntary admission of an individual subject to the provisions of this section on a temporary probable cause basis to a mental health facility for examination and treatment. The authorized psychiatrist or licensed psychologist must conclude and certify based on personal observation prior to certification that the individual is mentally ill and, because of such mental illness or addiction or both, is imminently likely to cause serious harm to himself or herself or to others if not immediately restrained and promotion of the best interests of the individual requires immediate hospitalization. Immediately upon certification, the psychiatrist or licensed psychologist shall provide notice of the certification to a circuit judge, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate in the county where the individual resides.

     (f) No involuntary hospitalization pursuant to a temporary probable cause determination issued pursuant to the provisions of this section shall continue in effect for more than forty-eight hours without the filing of a petition for involuntary hospitalization and the occurrence of a probable cause hearing before a circuit judge, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate. If at any time the chief medical officer of the mental health facility to which the individual is admitted determines that the individual is not likely to cause serious harm as a result of mental illness or addiction or both, the chief medical officer shall discharge the individual and immediately forward a copy of the individual?s discharge to the circuit judge, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.


Recent legislation affecting the Code

Citation Year/Session Short Title
§27 - 1 A- 12 - (New Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4363
PASSED - Regular Session

HB4363 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/25/2014)
Creating an informal dispute resolution process available to behavioral health providers
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.
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