Danny Wilde
The Marchman Act

Several options are available to help a family member or loved one in Florida struggling with substance abuse or severe mental health issues. The Baker act helps those with Mental Health issues, and the Marchman Act helps those with substance abuse disorders (SUD's).

Both of these Acts share similar processes; however, the execution of each Act and the issues they address are very different. 

West Palm Beach has a myriad of attorneys who understand the differences between the Marchman and Baker Acts. A Google search for a "Marchman Act Attorney near me" can be helpful.

However, the 15th Circuit Court located in West Palm Beach, Florida, published information on the Marchman and Baker Acts. The following list summarizes the Acts.

The Marchman Act:

Ø The Marchman Act orders an individual for an assessment of substance abuse only; it is not an order for an evaluation of mental health issues. If the Respondent is in a mental health facility, the Marchman Act cannot be used to interfere with or be a substitute for the Respondent's mental health treatment.

Ø The Marchman Act does not guarantee a bed for treatment. The Court cannot find a bed for the Respondent and send the Respondent right from the hearing to a treatment bed.

Ø Marchman Act facilities are not "lockdown" facilities. If an individual who has been ordered to treatment decides to leave, the center has no authority to stop them. If an individual leaves treatment before completion, the individual will be ordered back in front of the Court for a contempt hearing.

Ø The Marchman Act does not pay for an individual's assessment or treatment. Most providers have payment assistance based on income; be sure to contact the provider before the appointment about what is required.

Ø An individual cannot be sent for substance abuse treatment to the Sheriff's Drug Farm, Eagle Academy, or any other correctional facility through the Marchman Act.

Ø The Marchman Act cannot supersede or interfere with any other court cases the individual may have pending. If the Respondent is charged with a crime or on probation, the Marchman Act cannot interfere with the criminal case or allow a Respondent to avoid a violation of probation.

Ø If the Respondent is in jail, the Marchman Act will not take precedence over their criminal charge and cannot be used to send the Respondent out of jail into treatment.

Ø The Marchman Act cannot be used to locate missing persons or runaway children. The Marchman Act cannot be used solely for the purpose of making a child attend school, keep a curfew, or obey parents.

The Baker Act

Ø The Order for Involuntary Examination reflects that the legal criteria under Florida Statutes Chapter 394 have been met; however, the burden then shifts to the mental health experts to determine if the medical criteria exist to detain the person for more than 72 hours or release them earlier.

Ø A person may not be detained in a facility for more than 72 hours. At the conclusion of this time period, one (1) of the following must occur:

o  The person must be released unless charged with a crime; OR

o  The person must be released; sometimes for outpatient treatment; OR

o  The person must be asked to give express and informed consent to voluntary placement; OR

o  A Petition for involuntary placement must be filed with the circuit court by the facility administrator. Under this alternative, the person will continue to be detained in the Facility until the involuntary placement hearing can occur.

Ø The receiving Facility shall not release a person without the documented approval of a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist.

Ø Unless the examined person authorizes the release of information under Federal Law to you, the Facility may not be able to discuss the diagnosis, treatment, or status of the person.

Ø If someone has been charged with a crime, depending on the charge, the Baker Act cannot prevent them from being held in jail. If a person has been charged with a serious crime, they may be treated by the mental health unit at the county jail.

Ø After the involuntary examination, if a person is deemed NOT to be a risk to themselves or others, the treatment facility MUST release the person.

One "Marchman Act attorney near me" in West Palm Beach stated that, "These Acts make it possible to regain stability in your loved one's life while promoting a more promising tomorrow."