does a 72 hour hold go on your record

Does a 72 hour hold go on your record?

A 72-hour hold is a specific type of confinement that is used in cases of protection for self or others. But, whether or not the hold will go on a criminal record check depends on one specific instance.

Although sometimes ‘72 hour hold’ refers to the maximum amount of time the law enforcement can hold someone without either releasing them or making an official charge, most of the time a 72 hour hold refers to non-voluntary confinement. Whether this mandatory confinement will go on the record, depends on how the 72 hour occurred.

In general, this type of incarceration is considered part of a person’s health record, so the hold won’t go on a background check unless it’s part of a crime that occurred. However, every state is different and all have various stipulations and statutes related to mental health evaluations.

If the hold occurred because of an arrest (even arrests without convictions), the arrest itself becomes public record and can show up on a background check. If the arrest then results in a conviction, the conviction and all charges and reports related to it can also be located by criminal history searches and screenings.

Related Reading: How to Find Recent Arrests and How to Check If You Have a Felony for Free

The following guide outlines the legal aspects of a 72 hour hold for all 50 states, and how to find out when this sort of mental health hold does, and doesn’t go on the official record.

What is a 5150 (And Does a 72-Hour Hold Go On Your Record as Mental Health History)?

A 5150 is a legal action that results in an involuntary 3-day hold for a person who may be a mental health or physical risk to themselves or others. Although the 5150 can be initially frustrating or frightening for the person under the order, this involuntary hold can be successfully used to save someone’s life, whether through self-harm, suicide, or harming another person.1

Any criminal action established, such as an arrest or charges (even charged but not convicted) that are filed, in conjunction with the 5150 will be placed on the public record, and can therefore be found on a background check and a person’s mental health record.

A 5150 hold can also be used for specific circumstances, when the person in question is checked for mental health and fitness. There are typically three sets of criteria that can indicate a person has dangerous warning signs — they are a danger to others, they are a danger to themselves, or they are unable to take care of their essential needs.2

If a person is suspected of having poor mental health, suicidal tendencies, a history of self-harm, or erratic behavior, these are all warning signs that a 5150 can save their life. Some of the most common signs indicating it is time for a 5150 can include a psychotic break, violent acts, suicide threats, substance abuse, or catatonia.

If the individual does not show any improvement during the 5150 hold, a 5250 hold can be re-instated. This hold allows the facility to keep the person for an additional 14-day extension.4 Even though this 5150 or 5250 will appear on a person’s mental health check, it is helpful to know the answer to “what shows up on a background check?”

An involuntary hold is part of a person’s medical health record, NOT their public criminal record. Therefore, it should not show up during a basic background check, such as those for:

However, the exception that involves the criminal record, also pertains (in most cases) to a federal background check on myself. Since many states DO release mental health information to the federal government, these holds can show up on a gun background check.

What is the Purpose of a 72 Hour Hold?

The purpose of a 72-hour hold for someone is to evaluate their psychiatric state, prevent them from harming themselves or others or help them out of a situation where they could not take care of themselves. This 72-hour hold can help a person with mental illness receive professional care in a hospital for the “observation period.”5


The main reason for this involuntary 72-hour hold is to assess whether the person in question meets the criteria for a need for hospitalization, but some experts consider its use is sometimes abused.

Can You Refuse a 72 Hour Hold?

A person cannot refuse an involuntary 72 hour hold. However, a mental health professional will determine if there is a “good cause” to keep the person in the facility during the hold.

After the person has been taken into the involuntary 72-hour hold, there will be a Certification Review Hearing at the hospital upon admission. This meeting is used to determine if there is a “good cause” to admit someone into the 72 hour hold at the hospital.

The hearing officer will determine if the person is a danger to themselves, a danger to others, or gravely disabled due to psychiatric illness or mental disorder. If there is a “good” cause, the person could stay for another 14 days. If there is not enough cause to keep the person, they are immediately released.

In addition, the facility where depression may be detained must have a written application stating that there is enough probable cause that the individual is suffering from the mental disorder and can be of harm to themselves or others. If a person was brought into a mental health facility or hospital with no just cause, this person can take up civil action against the hospital.7

Does a 72 Hour Hold Go On Your Record In all 50 States? (Mental Health Records)

Individuals who have been sanctioned in the past for a 72-hour hold may be curious if this hold goes on their permanent record, or if the hold will show up on a free criminal background check, like a background check warrant.

However, every state is different regarding what justifies a 72-hour hold. The following table provides links to each state’s judicial process regarding this order.

Can You Visit Someone on a 72-Hour Hold?

Individuals who have been brought into a psychiatric facility or hospital for a 72-hour hold should know their rights.

During the initial 3-day hold period, there are no visitors. During this time, the patient will receive treatment to help stabilize them and become accustomed to the effect. After they have been admitted and have become accustomed to their new surroundings, the professionals at the facility may start to administer medication or therapy to understand the root cause of the issue.8

Does a 72-Hour Hold Include Weekends?

A 72 hour hold applies to the time frame in which the provider must file for the involuntary commitment. Therefore, since the provider will only work during “normal” office hours between approximately 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, a 72-hour hold does not include weekends and holidays. In this case, the patient will usually be discharged before the actual hearing date.9

There are some instances in which the additional days can be helpful to certain patients who may require an additional 24 or 48 hours to stay at a facility. However, that does mean that it’s not a literal 72 hours.

What Happens After a 72 Hour Hold? (Consequences of 5150)

The first question is whether mental health records are typically integrated into a basic background check. In short, no. Mental health records are mostly considered health records, and as such, are subject to privacy laws related to health.

The doctor at the hospital or psychiatric facility is legally required to keep doctor-patient confidentiality. However, in certain circumstances, a mental health record could be accessed during employment screening.

Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Health insurance Portability and Accountability Act may deter employers from using mental health records, it is not illegal.10

In addition, specific positions and agencies will require a mental health check. These professions include government jobs, occupations with high levels of security clearance, and safety positions. Nursing background checks also often include mental health assessments. Even so, seeking mental health services does not disqualify a person from being able to gain security clearance.11

Being admitted for a 72 hour hold can be the difference between life and death. Knowing the answer to “does a 72 hour hold go on your record” can help an individual make the right decision when it comes to helping themselves or others stay safe from self-harm or harming others.

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