Order to Apprehend (OTA)

mental-healthgeneral-informationThe Probate Judge may issue an order commanding any peace officer to take an individual who appears to be mentally ill requiring involuntary treatment into custody and deliver him or her to the nearest receiving facility for examination.  This order is commonly referred to as an "Order to Apprehend," because it directs law enforcement to apprehend the person and take them for examination.  

An Order to Apprehend issued by the Probate Court is only for an examination by a physician to determine whether a person appears to be mentally ill requiring involuntary treatment. It is not a guarantee of treatment or admittance into any hospital facility.

If a person is currently in jail, Probate Court, will not intervene.


To obtain an order for an emergency examination of an individual, a petition to the Court by two individuals is required. Each petitioner must submit a separate affidavit affirming their personal observation of the individual within the last 48 hours. These affidavits should explicitly outline the behaviors or conduct seen by each petitioner that indicate the individual's mental illness and the necessity of involuntary treatment. Importantly, if it has been 49 hours since the observation, the Judge is unable to sign the Order for Apprehension.

The witnesses must attest in an affidavit that the said individual is a mentally ill person, an alcoholic or is drug dependent, presents a substantial risk of imminent harm to himself/herself or others, and that the individual needs involuntary treatment. 

Further, the individual for whom the order to apprehend is sought, must be a resident of Rockdale County or located in Rockdale County. The individual must also be at least 17 years of age or older. Jurisdiction for individuals under 17 years of age is in Juvenile Court.

Affidavits for Order to Apprehend

The form affidavits for Orders to Apprehend may be picked up at the Probate Court or downloaded here.

The affidavits for Orders to Apprehend are accepted Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 3:00pm (excluding weekends, holidays, and countywide furlough days).