Implementing the Florida Marchman Act

About The Marchman Act

The Marchman Act is a wonderful law specific to Florida and was named after Rev. Hal S. Marchman when instituted it in 1993.

The statute basically combined chapters 396 and 397 which allow families to petition the courts for mandatory assessment and up to 60 DAYS of rehabilitation.

Advantages of Marchman Act


  • In certain cases you may have no other choice.
  • If you don’t qualify for an intervention for either clinical or financial reasons.
  • It can be used as a threat during an intervention if the person will not admit voluntarily.
  • When the individual does not have health insurance and/or the family does not have the means to pay, Marchman Act can, depending on the county, give a person priority for State Funded Treatment.
  • It can take the burden off of the family and place it between the loved one and the law.

Disadvantages of Marchman Act

  • It can take up to 10 days to complete the process.
  • The respondent can get a public defender whose goal is to dismiss the case.
  • You must consider hiring your own representation to argue your side and defend the family.
  • You must have a valid address where the person can be served.
  • It can take the burden off of the family and place it between the loved one and the law.
  • The family member (Respondent) often feels victimized and institutionalized which is not conducive for receiving help at the point of services. This is often very difficult for the treatment team to be affective.
  • It does not guarantee that a person will be placed in a lock down unit. It is simply a court order to submit to treatment at a voluntary program which is reportable to the court system.
  • If a person leaves the county which the order was filed it is not enforceable.
  • When there are children involved it can be more traumatic if Law Enforcement is needed.
  • Depending on the quantity of drugs in possession when the Respondent is served there could be criminal charges filed.
  • The court may not order the level of care that is clinically appropriate.
  • If your treatment program of choice is outside the county where the order is filed, the judge may or may not grant permission to take the Respondent to that program. The reason is that due process cannot be followed if the person is outside the county where the Petition was filed.
  • Finally, every county handles this process differently which makes the outcome unpredictable. This is why we advise the use of specialized Attorneys if your family needs to file the Florida Marchman Act.

Need help with a family member or friend? We can help!