The Arizona Revised Statutes have been updated to include the revised sections from the 56th Legislature, 1st Regular Session. Please note that the next update of this compilation will not take place until after the conclusion of the 56th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session, which convenes in January 2024.
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36-544. Unauthorized absences; violation; classification; tolling period; hearing; civil liability; definition
A. When any patient who is being evaluated or treated is absent without proper authorization from an evaluation agency or a mental health treatment agency, or when an order for outpatient treatment is rescinded, any peace officer shall, upon oral or written request of the medical director of the agency and without the necessity of a warrant or court order, or any officer or employee of the agency who has been previously designated in writing by the medical director of the agency to perform such duties may, take into custody and deliver such patient to the agency. Such officers and employees of the agency have the powers and duties of peace officers so far as is necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. If necessary, the evaluation or treatment agency may apply to the court for a warrant or court order directing any peace officer to take a patient who is absent without proper authorization into custody and deliver the patient to the agency.
B. Any person who intentionally assists any patient being evaluated or treated in an agency to be absent from the agency without proper authorization, or who intentionally assists a patient whom he knows to be absent without proper authorization or whom he knows to be a patient whose order for outpatient treatment has been rescinded and who has been ordered to return to the agency, or to resist being returned to the agency after such absence is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.
C. The period of court-ordered treatment is tolled during the unauthorized absence of the patient. Within five days after a patient's unauthorized absence, the treatment agency shall file a notice with the court and provide the date that absence began and request that the treatment order be tolled. If the court tolls the period of court-ordered treatment, notice of the order must be provided to the patient by regular mail at the patient's last known address. If the patient is undergoing treatment as a result of a remand pursuant to section 13-4517, notice must also be provided to the prosecuting attorney. The treatment agency shall notify the court of the date of the patient's return. On notice of the patient's return, the court shall issue an order that provides the time period that was tolled.
D. A patient whose period of court-ordered treatment is tolled for a period of at least sixty continuous days may request a judicial review pursuant to section 36-546 on the patient's voluntary or involuntary return to treatment. During the period tolled by a court order issued pursuant to this section, the treatment agency shall use information and other resources that are available to the agency to facilitate efforts to locate and return the patient to appropriate treatment. At least once every sixty days, or as often as otherwise ordered by the court, the treatment agency shall file with the court a report that specifies the information and resources that were used by the agency to facilitate the agency's efforts. After the period of treatment is tolled for a period of one hundred eighty days, if the court is satisfied that the agency has made the efforts that are required by this subsection, on petition of the treatment agency, the court may terminate the order for treatment or may order the treatment agency to make further specific efforts to locate and return the patient to appropriate treatment. For a patient who has had a petition filed by a prosecutor pursuant to section 13-4517, the treatment agency shall provide notice to the prosecuting agency of the petition to terminate treatment.
E. The period of treatment under a court order may not be tolled for more than three hundred sixty-five days.
F. If the treatment agency has in good faith followed the requirements of this section, the treatment agency is not liable in a civil action for damages that result from the actions of a patient during any period of treatment tolled by an order issued pursuant to this section.
G. For the purposes of this section, "absent without proper authorization" or "unauthorized absence" includes being absent from an inpatient treatment facility without authorization, no longer living in a placement or residence specified by the treatment plan without authorization and leaving or failing to return to the county or state without authorization.