Pretrial Services | Behavior Assessment Unit
The primary function of the Behavior Assessment Unit (BAU) is to determine a defendant’s
competency to participate in his/her legal defense. The BAU Psychiatrist sees defendants
who have pending legal matters in Allegheny County and are ordered by a judicial
authority to undergo an assessment. Within 72 hours the BAU psychiatrist will evaluate
a court-ordered defendant and recommendations will be made to the Court regarding
competency to proceed in the pending court case. The behavior assessments may also
be used in guiding the court during sentencing.
The BAU is also responsible for involuntary mental health commitments in the Court
of Common Pleas, under the Mental Health Procedures Act of 1976, section 304, 402
If the psychiatrist deems a defendant competent to participate in his/her legal
defense but is in need of social services, the BAU employs social workers who
will refer and attempt to connect defendants with appropriate services through Allegheny
County and private agencies.