Mental committal, involuntary committal, mental adjudication, adjudicated incompetent, a finding of mentally defective. However you say it, the Probate Court in SC can determine your sanity and take away your rights. This is a serious finding, and unfortunately one that many clients do not remember in detail. I understand this is a difficult time in your life and that your mind will naturally block out stressful times and memories. However, the legal affect will remain until you address the issue.
Loss of Rights
An involuntary committal does not end when you are released. Even after the hospital releases your person, you are still suffering under legal restraints. These restraints last as long as the committal remains in place.
Voting today is considered a fundamental right even though it is generally not enshrined in the Constitution. Regardless of the Constitutional status, voting is an important means of participating in society. Understandably, an adjudication of incompetency is a disqualifier for voting. S.C. Code Ann. § 7-5-120(B)(1). However, this disqualifier is not lifted once you end your treatment and regain your liberty.
The right to own and bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution under the Second Amendment. It is also protected in the SC State Constitution. However these protections are not absolute, and an adjudication or committal will cause you to lose your firearm rights. Under SC law you can no longer possess a firearm after a committal. S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-1040. This corresponds with Federal law. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4). Unfortunately, this prohibition remains in place permanently after the committal.
Restoration of Rights
Fortunately, a committal or adjudication is not the end of the world. South Carolina law allows for restoration of your rights. A petition must be filed and supported with appropriate records, personal recommendations, and findings by your doctors. Then the Court will schedule a private hearing to determine whether or not your rights should be restored.
If the Court grants your petition, the stigma of the committal is lifted and you gain your rights back. The Court will notify SLED who in turn will notify the FBI, and the Federal Government will recognize the finding of the SC Courts. This should end the saga and restore you to your status prior to the committal. And honestly, this is the end goal we all want.
How can I help?
I assist clients with the petition process and gathering all of the necessary documents. Finding a psychiatrist to make an evaluation for this purpose can be difficult, but I have worked successfully in the past to do just that. And I’ll be there on the day of the hearing to state your case and argue why your rights should be restored. This is a trying time, but help is available. If I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.