Does a 5150 Show Up On a Background Check?

A 5150, also known as a 72-hour hold is the involuntary hospitalization of someone going through a mental breakdown. The legislation on how the procedure is done will vary from state to date however the most commonly used is California’s welfare and institutions code, which is a 5150.

Whenever a person is deemed to be a risk to themselves or the public due to a mental health problem they can be held under section 5150 for 72 hours. If you’ve ever been held under a 5150 before then you might want to know if it shows up on a background check

If your 72-hour hold included you committing a crime, then it’ll show up during a background check. However, if there was no crime committed and it was simply an episode of bad mental health then the 5150 will only be on your medical record, which won’t show up during a background check. 

Does a 72-Hour Hold Go On Your Record?

As we explained above, a 72-hour hold will only go on your record if you get a criminal record in the process of being put under a 5150. A mental health hold isn’t a criminal conviction which means there will be nothing on your criminal record about it.

It will only show up on your medical record, which is private and any potential employers won’t have access to it when doing a background check on you. 

This is for your privacy as US law states that medical records are confidential and thus the only people who have access to it are agencies like medical staff or police on rare occasions if they have a warrant.

What is the difference between 5150 and 5250?

A 5150 and 5250 both mean the same thing in that they define a time in which someone had been involuntarily placed in a hospital due to an episode of bad mental health, the only difference is that a 5250 means you were kept in for a longer period of time.

A 5150 means you were kept for up to 72 hours, whereas a 5250 means you were kept for a period of up to 14 days. 

At the end of a 5150 the hospital staff will determine if you’re mentally able to be released or not. If you don’t fit the criteria they can decide to keep you in for longer which turns it into a 5250.

Does a 5250 hold go on your record?

As a 5250 hold requires a longer stay which typically indicates a more serious problem, it still won’t go on your record as long as you didn’t receive a criminal conviction for it. A 5250 is still classified as a mental health hold which only makes it appear on your medical record and thus won’t show up during a background check.

Who can see 5150 on your record?

The only people who can see a 5150 on your record will be those who have access to your medical records such as paramedics, nurses, and your doctor. As it’s part of your medical record, which is different from a criminal record, the only people who can see it on your record will be medical personnel or police if they have a warrant to do so.

Should you disclose a 72-hour hold to your employer?

It’s completely up to you whether or not you want to disclose a 72-hour hold with your employer. 

There is no legal obligation for you to tell an employer about your mental health history, nor is it legal for them to ask you about it. Mental health is quite a taboo subject and some people don’t like to talk about it, which is completely fine. 

The only reason you should disclose a 72-hour hold to your employer is when you received a criminal record in the process. In this case, it’s going to show up when a background check is done therefore it’s better to tell them about it. 

Where Can I Go for Legal Help with My 5150 Hold?

Legal Help with My 5150 Hold

Being placed under a 5150 hold by a medical professional isn’t something that you can directly refuse as it can be enforced by law. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have any rights while under a 5150 hold. 

You have the right to an explanation as to why you’re being placed under the hold, which should be done by a qualified officer or clinician. During your 72-hour hold, you also have the right to treatment and evaluation. The entire reason behind your hold is to access your mental health and provide treatment.

If you don’t feel like the 5150 hold is justified then you’re also entitled to contest the hold and seek a legal representative like a mental health attorney who can help guide you through the legal process and make sure your rights aren’t being violated.


To summarize, your 5150 hold will show up on a background check if you committed a crime that caused the hold to be sanctioned. However, you can have your mind put at ease knowing a 5150 won’t show up during a background check if you weren’t charged with a crime.

In this case, it’ll only go on your medical record which isn’t included in a background check and employers won’t have access to it. Medical records are deemed confidential by law and can only be accessed by medical professionals.

bryan rucker
Written by Brian Williams

Brian is an expert in security, privacy, and information. He has studied background checks, criminal, people search, and such topics over the last 5 years. He is also an avid writer and enjoys sharing his knowledge through this blog. Read more of Brian's articles.