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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4464
Experience:  Almost 12 years of legal experience
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My husband and I were in a restaurant/bar when some reported

Customer Question

My husband and I were in a restaurant/bar when some reported a situation was happening. 3 police offers came told him he needed to do a breath test for alcohol and if he said no they would take him to jail if he said yes and failed they would take him to detox. He of course failed and they took him to a detox center in Frisco and said they were admitting him as he was a threat to himself or others. He was not driving but sitting in a bar. The cop said it had to do with title 24 in the Colorado statuses but title 24 has nothing to do with this. How could they have legally done this?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 12 months ago.


I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds like the officers misspoke by referring to it as a Title 24 issue when it is actually a Title 27 issue. Colorado is an unusual state because public intoxication is not a crime there. In most states, you can be arrested and charged, but in Colorado they prefer to treat people. So under Title 27 of the Code, when a person is intoxicated and a danger to his safety or others, officers (rather than arresting the person) may take them in protective custody and place them in a treatment facility to detox. I am pasting the full text of the law here for your convenience:

27-81-111. Emergency commitment

(1) (a) When a person is intoxicated or incapacitated by alcohol and clearly dangerous to the health and safety of himself, herself, or others, he or she shall be taken into protective custody by law enforcement authorities or an emergency service patrol, acting with probable cause, and placed in an approved treatment facility. If no such facilities are available, he or she may be detained in an emergency medical facility or jail, but only for so long as may be necessary to prevent injury to himself, herself, or others or to prevent a breach of the peace. If the person being detained is a juvenile, as defined in section 19-1-103 (68), C.R.S., the juvenile shall be placed in a setting that is nonsecure and physically segregated by sight and sound from the adult offenders. A law enforcement officer or emergency service patrol officer, in detaining the person, is taking him or her into protective custody. In so doing, the detaining officer may protect himself or herself by reasonable methods but shall make every reasonable effort to protect the detainee's health and safety. A taking into protective custody under this section is not an arrest, and no entry or other record shall be made to indicate that the person has been arrested or charged with a crime. Law enforcement or emergency service personnel who act in compliance with this section are acting in the course of their official duties and are not criminally or civilly liable therefor. Nothing in this subsection (1) shall preclude an intoxicated or incapacitated person who is not dangerous to the health and safety of himself, herself, or others from being assisted to his or her home or like location by the law enforcement officer or emergency service patrol officer.

(b) A sheriff or police chief who violates the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) related to detaining juveniles may be subject to a civil fine of no more than one thousand dollars. The decision to fine shall be based on prior violations of the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) by the sheriff or police chief and the willingness of the sheriff or police chief to address the violations in order to comply with paragraph (a) of this subsection (1).

(2) A law enforcement officer, emergency service patrolman, physician, spouse, guardian, or relative of the person to be committed or any other responsible person may make a written application for emergency commitment under this section, directed to the administrator of the approved treatment facility. The application shall state the circumstances requiring emergency commitment, including the applicant's personal observations and the specific statements of others, if any, upon which he or she relies in making the application. A copy of the application shall be furnished to the person to be committed.

(3) If the approved treatment facility administrator or his or her authorized designee approves the application, the person shall be committed, evaluated, and treated for a period not to exceed five days. The person shall be brought to the facility by a peace officer, the emergency service patrol, or any interested person. If necessary, the court may be contacted to issue an order to the police, the peace officer's department, or the sheriff's department to transport the person to the facility.

(4) If the approved treatment facility administrator or his or her authorized designee determines that the application fails to sustain the grounds for emergency commitment as set forth in subsection (1) of this section, the commitment shall be refused and the person detained immediately released, and the person shall be encouraged to seek voluntary treatment if appropriate.

(5) When the administrator determines that the grounds for commitment no longer exist, he or she shall discharge the person committed under this section. A person committed under this section may not be detained in any treatment facility for more than five days; except that a person may be detained for longer than five days at the approved treatment facility if, in that period of time, a petition for involuntary commitment has been filed pursuant to section 27-81-112. A person may not be detained longer than ten days after the date of filing of the petition for involuntary commitment.

(6) Whenever a person is involuntarily detained pursuant to this section, he or she shall immediately be advised by the facility administrator or his or her authorized designee, both orally and in writing, of his or her right to challenge such detention by application to the courts for a writ of habeas corpus, to be represented by counsel at every stage of any proceedings relating to his or her commitment and recommitment, and to have counsel appointed by the court or provided by the court if he or she wants the assistance of counsel and is unable to obtain counsel.

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