Amanda Bynes: What happened, and what’s a 5150 hold?

The Juice

Amanda Bynes is once again hitting the headlines this week as she was detained by police and held for a 5150 psychiatric evaluation after allegedly starting a fire on the driveway of a stranger’s home.

The incident occurred at 9 p.m. Monday, when police in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (where Bynes was raised), responded to a report that the former Nickelodeon star had set fire to a stranger’s driveway. The night before, Bynes was also involved in an incident with police after the 26-year-old allegedly trespassed at a local retirement village.

“Amanda Bynes was involved in a disturbance in a residential neighbourhood last night in Thousand Oaks,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Deputies investigated the incident and determined that she met the criteria of 5150. ... She was detained and taken for a mental health evaluation.”

A 5150 psychiatric hold is a section of the California Welfare Code that is used to involuntarily hold people whom authorities suspect may be a danger to themselves or others. It is described in the state’s medical code as "when any person, as a result of mental disorder, is a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled." The 5150 is often used in cases of mental illness and in some situations of substance abuse, in order to hold patients for up to 72 hours to be evaluated by medical professionals.

Britney Spears was memorably taken to the hospital under a 5150 hold in 2008 after reportedly locking herself in a room at her L.A home with one of her children in tow. At the time, Spears was experiencing her own public troubles and was eventually placed under a conservatorship, in which her father, Jamie, took legal control over her life and career. According to Radar Online, Bynes's parents, Rick and Lynn, are considering asking a judge to place the actress under a conservatorship as well.

It’s just the latest bizarre incident for the former Nickelodeon star, who has been no stranger to controversy, thanks to a string of driving incidents, DUIs and Twitter rants in recent months. Earlier this month, Bynes even appeared in court in New York on drug charges after allegedly throwing a marijuana bong out of the window of her 36th floor apartment.

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