What is a Marchman Act?

Are you deeply concerned about a family member abusing drugs or alcohol? If so, you may feel powerless to help. You have already encouraged them to seek treatment voluntarily, but they refuse. You consulted an interventionist, but there were no results. You may have reached the point where you will consider filing for the Marchman Act.

What Is the Marchman Act?

This is the name commonly used to describe a Florida statute that lets family members ask the court for a mandatory assessment and treatment for a family member abusing drugs or alcohol. The goal is to help someone who seems to be a danger to others or themselves. The Marchman Act is not the same as the Baker Act. The Marchman Act is for chemical dependency or substance abuse. There is an initial assessment of five days with the possibility of treatment for up to 60 days. The Baker Act was created to help individuals with mental illness. Families may request a mentally ill individual who seems likely to harm themselves be committed to a psychiatric facility for 72 hours.

What Happens When the Marchman Act Is Enacted?

In most cases, when a person is under the Marchman Act, they are not in a lockdown program. In most cases, the programs are open doors. The only thing that keeps the patient there is the court order. Physicians and law enforcement officers can file petitions for protective custody and emergency admission. These are typically short-term stays. However, when a family member files on behalf of their adult relative, they must be a spouse or guardian. Or three adults who are not relatives but have firsthand knowledge of the situation can also file. Legal guardians, parents, or custodians can initiate petitions for minors under their care. However, it is up to the guardian to find the right treatment program, make payment arrangements, and ensure availability. The petition must be filed in the county where the patient resides. The individual or individuals filing the petition will need to be at any subsequent hearings.

The Process for Filing a Petition

When filing, you must bring a photo ID and the address where the respondent can be picked up or served. You also need to have information about the treatment provider who has said that they can receive the patient. Depending on the Florida county where you live, you may need to have money to pay the court or sheriff’s office fees. After filing the Marchman act petition, you will need to swear to the truthfulness of your statements. A notary will stamp your statement, and it will be given to a magistrate or judge to be reviewed.

They can deny the petition or program a hearing within ten days. They could send law enforcement to pick up the respondent. The respondent may be held for the initial assessment for three to five days. A patient will be assigned a voluntary status, they will be discharged, or a petition for involuntary treatment will need to be filed. The maximum a judge can order for treatment is 60 days. However, if there is a need for continued involuntary treatment, the judge can extend the treatment order.

The judge can grant an extension for up to 90 days more. If the respondent does not comply with the treatment order, they could be punished with jail time. However, most counties do not enforce the jail time aspect. Theoretically, the Marchman Act records are confidential. However, some people have complained that it has appeared on their record, impacting employment opportunities. If this is the case, additional legal action may be required to have these notices removed from one’s record.

Helping Those You Love Get the Needed Care

The optimal circumstance would be that your loved one would see the need to get rehabilitative care and take action on their own. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Do you need help encouraging a loved one to get care? Would you like to find a dignified, safe, trustworthy facility for your loved one to rehabilitate from their substance use? If so, contact us today at 833-497-3808.