CHAPTER 27. MENTALLY ILL PERSONS.
WVC 27 - 1 -
ARTICLE 1. WORDS AND PHRASES DEFINED.
WVC 27 - 1 - 1
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall, for the purposes of this chapter, have the meanings
respectively ascribed to them in this article, unless the context
clearly requires a different meaning.
WVC 27 - 1 - 2
§27-1-2. Mental illness.
"Mental illness" means a manifestation in a person of
significantly impaired capacity to maintain acceptable levels of
functioning in the areas of intellect, emotion and physical well-
WVC 27 - 1 - 3
§27-1-3. Intellectual disability.
"Intellectual disability" means significantly subaverage
intellectual functioning which manifests itself in a person during
his or her developmental period and which is characterized by his
or her inadequacy in adaptive behavior. Notwithstanding any
provision to the contrary, if any service provision or
reimbursement is affected by the changes in terminology adopted in
the 2010 First Extraordinary Session of the Legislature, the terms
"intellectual disability" or "individuals with an intellectual
disability" shall assume their previous terminology. It is not the
intent of the Legislature to expand the class of individuals
affected by this terminology change.
WVC 27 - 1 - 4
An "inebriate" person is anyone over the age of eighteen
years who is incapable or unfit to properly conduct himself or
herself, or his or her affairs, or is dangerous to himself or
herself or others, by reason of periodical, frequent or constant
drunkenness, induced either by the use of alcoholic or other
liquors, or of opium, morphine, or other narcotic or intoxicating
or stupefying substance.
WVC 27 - 1 - 5
A "physician" is a person licensed under the laws of this
state to practice medicine or a medical officer of the government
of the United States while in this state in the performance of
his official duties.
WVC 27 - 1 - 6
§27-1-6. State hospital.
"State hospital" means any hospital, center or institution, or
part of any hospital, center or institution, established,
maintained and operated by the Division of Health, or by the
Division of Health in conjunction with a political subdivision of
the state, to provide inpatient or outpatient care and treatment
for the mentally ill, intellectually disabled or addicted. The
terms "hospital" and "state hospital" exclude correctional and
regional jail facilities.
WVC 27 - 1 - 7
§27-1-7. Administrator and clinical director.
(a) The administrator of a state-operated treatment facility
is its chief executive officer and has the authority to manage and
administer the financial, business and personnel affairs of such
facility. All other persons employed at the state-operated
treatment facility are under the jurisdiction and authority of the
administrator of the treatment facility who need not be a
(b) The clinical director has the responsibility for decisions
involving clinical and medical treatment of patients in a
state-operated mental health facility. The clinical director must
be a physician duly licensed to practice medicine in this state who
has completed training in an accredited program of post-graduate
education in psychiatry.
(c) In any facility designated by the Secretary of the
Department of Health and Human Resources as a facility for
individuals with an intellectual disability in which programs and
services are designed primarily to provide education, training and
rehabilitation rather than medical or psychiatric treatment, the
duties and responsibilities, other than those directly related to
medical treatment services, assigned to the clinical director by
this section or elsewhere in this chapter, are assigned to and
become the responsibility of the administrator of that facility, or
of a person with expertise in the field of intellectual disability,
who need not be a physician, designated by the administrator.
WVC 27 - 1 - 8
§27-1-8. Resident of state and county.
A "resident of the state" is any person who has had an
established residency in this state for at least one year, and a
"resident of the county" is any person who has had an established
residency in a county for at least sixty days.
WVC 27 - 1 - 9
§27-1-9. Mental health facility.
"Mental health facility" means any inpatient, residential or
outpatient facility for the care and treatment of the mentally ill,
intellectually disabled or addicted which is operated, or licensed
to operate, by the Department of Health and Human Resources and
includes state hospitals as defined in section six of this article.
The term also includes veterans administration hospitals, but does
not include any regional jail, juvenile or adult correctional
facility, or juvenile detention facility.
WVC 27 - 1 - 10
§27-1-10. Psychologists and psychiatrists.
(a) For the purposes of this chapter, "psychologist" means any
person licensed under the laws of this state to engage in the
practice of psychology, or any other psychologist not a resident of
this state who engages in the practice of psychology in this state
and who holds a license or certificate to engage in the practice of
psychology issued by another state with licensing or certification
requirements comparable to the licensing requirements of this
state, as may be determined by the state board of examiners of
(b) For purposes of this chapter, "psychiatrist" means a
physician licensed under the laws of this state to practice
medicine who has completed training in an accredited program of
post-graduate education in psychiatry.
WVC 27 - 1 - 11
(a) As used in this chapter, "addiction" means a maladaptive
pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant
impairment or distress as manifested by one or more of the
following occurring within thirty days prior to the filing of the
(1) Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill
major role obligations at work, school or home, including, but not
limited to, repeated absences or poor work performance related to
substance use; substance-related absences, suspensions or
expulsions from school; or neglect of children or household;
(2) Recurrent use in situations in which it is physically
hazardous, including, but not limited to, driving while intoxicated
or operating a machine when impaired by substance use;
(3) Recurrent substance-related legal problems; or
(4) Continued use despite knowledge or having persistent or
recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by
the effects of the substance.
(b) As used in this section, "substance" shall mean alcohol,
controlled substances as defined in sections two hundred four, two
hundred six, two hundred eight and two hundred ten, article two,
chapter sixty-a of this code or anything consumed for its
psychoactive effect whether or not designed for human consumption.
WVC 27 - 1 - 12
§27-1-12. Likely to cause serious harm.
(a) "Likely to cause serious harm" means an individual is
exhibiting behaviors consistent with a medically recognized mental
disorder or addiction, excluding, however, disorders that are
manifested only through antisocial or illegal behavior and as a
result of the mental disorder or addiction:
(1) The individual has inflicted or attempted to inflict
bodily harm on another;
(2) The individual, by threat or action, has placed others in
reasonable fear of physical harm to themselves;
(3) The individual, by action or inaction, presents a danger
to himself, herself or others in his or her care;
(4) The individual has threatened or attempted suicide or
serious bodily harm to himself or herself; or
(5) The individual is behaving in a manner as to indicate that
he or she is unable, without supervision and the assistance of
others, to satisfy his or her need for nourishment, medical care,
shelter or self-protection and safety so that there is a
substantial likelihood that death, serious bodily injury, serious
physical debilitation, serious mental debilitation or
life-threatening disease will ensue unless adequate treatment is
(b) In making the "likely to cause serious harm"
determination, judicial, medical, psychological and other
evaluators and decisionmakers should utilize all available information, including psychosocial, medical, hospitalization and
psychiatric information and including the circumstances of any
previous commitments or convalescent or conditional releases that
are relevant to a current situation, in addition to the
individual's current overt behavior. The rules of evidence shall
be followed in making the "likely to cause serious harm"
determination except that hearsay evidence not admissible
thereunder may be admitted, except where precluded by statute, if
it is of a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons
in the conduct of their affairs.
WVC 27 - 1 - 13
§27-1-13. Chief medical officer.
"Chief medical officer" means the physician responsible for
medical programs within a mental health facility and shall
include the clinical director of a state hospital.
WVC 27 - 1 - 14
§27-1-14. Detained or taken into custody.
"Detained or taken into custody" where used in this chapter
shall permit detention for custody in a county facility which may
be in the same building as the county jail if the said county
(a) Meets the standards which the department of health shall
(b) Is approved for such use by the department of health;
(c) Is inspected annually by the department of health.
WVC 27 - 1 - 15
§27-1-15. Computation of time.
The provisions of section one, article two, chapter two of
this code shall apply to the time fixed for doing any act under
WVC 27 - 1 - 16
"Incapacitated" means a level of intoxication at which an
individual is incapable of physical or mental control of himself,
thus rendering him dangerous to himself or others or unable to
protect himself from hazard.
WVC 27 - 1 - 17
§27-1-17. Judicial officer.
"Judicial officer" in the context of the provisions of this
and other chapters of this code dealing with disposition of a
charge of public intoxication, means a municipal judge, a
magistrate or any judge of a court of record in this state.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
The West Virginia 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.