Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania
County of Allegheny
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 or 403.

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.