Mental Health and Substance Abuse Proceedings
Forms and Assistance
Incapacity Check List
Petition and Affidavit Seeking Ex Parte Order Requiring Involuntary Examination - Baker Act
Petition and Affidavit Seeking Involuntary Substance Abuse Assessment and Stabilization - Marchman Act
Petition for Involuntary Treatment (if seeking long term treatment, this Petition can be filed after the Respondent has been assessed at the facility for the Marchman Act)
Mental Health Proceedings/Baker Act FAQ's (850) 606-4180
A voluntary Baker Act admission occurs when a person 18 years of age or older, or a parent of a minor, applies for admission to a facility for observation, diagnosis, and treatment.
An involuntary Baker Act admission occurs upon a finding by a court that (1) a person is mentally ill and, because of the mental illness, he/she has refused voluntary placement for treatment or is unable to determine whether placement is necessary; (2) he/she is incapable of living alone or with help, and without treatment is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for him/herself, or there is a substantial likelihood in the near future that he/she will inflict serious bodily harm on him/herself/others as evidenced by recent behavior; and (3) all less restrictive treatment alternatives are not appropriate.
A. A law enforcement officer may take a person who appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination into custody and deliver the person to the nearest receiving facility for an examination.
B. A physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, or clinical social worker may execute a certificate that he or she has examined a person within the preceding 48 hours and finds that the person appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination. A law enforcement officer shall take the person named in the certificate to the nearest receiving facility for an examination.
C. A court may enter an ex parte (on behalf of one party, without notice) order stating that the person appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination. A law enforcement officer shall take the person into custody and deliver him or her for an examination.
A person may not be held for more than 72 hours.
The order will be faxed to the Warrants Division of the Leon County Sheriffs Office, which will take the person into custody and to a receiving facility. The receiving facility generally utilized is the Apalachee Center for Human Services located at 2634 Capital Circle N.E., Tallahassee, FL. The person is examined at the facility and the staff and doctors there determine any further action.
Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes is known as "The Baker Act" and as "The Florida Mental Health Act". A Baker Act proceeding is a means of providing an individual with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment, either on a voluntary or involuntary basis.
A person who has personal knowledge of the behavior of the individual, should give sworn testimony. The individual believed to be suffering from mental illness should be in Leon County. The petitioner(s) must have observed the behavior and must have talked to the individual about obtaining a voluntary examination within a few days. The Clerk's Office will assist with the necessary paperwork.
Because paperwork has to be processed, the petitioners should visit the Clerk's Office by 3:30 p.m. The petitioners should bring a valid photo identification of themselves and should be prepared to provide a specific address for the individual.
The Baker Act Law can be found in Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes. Visit our website and find the link to the statutes online.
If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact the Clerk and Comptroller's Office, ATTN: Probate, 301 South Monroe Street, Suite 100, Tallahassee, FL 32301, (850) 606-4180; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call 711 via the Florida Relay System.
Substance Abuse Proceedings/Marchman Act FAQ'S (850) 606-4180
After the court receives the written assessment, a Petition for Involuntary Treatment may be filed. The assessment must be received, and the petition must be filed, within 12 days of the assessment and stabilization period.
You will need to bring picture identification and an address/location for the person. You should arrive at the Clerk's Office by 3:30 p.m. to allow time for the processing of paperwork.
The court will review the petition and, relying solely on the contents of the petition, enter an order authorizing the involuntary stabilization and assessment of the person. The order will be faxed to the Warrants Division of the Leon County Sheriffs Office and the person will be transported to Apalachee Center for Human Services at 2634 Capital Circle, N.E. The facility will assess and stabilize the patient for a period not to exceed 5 days. A written assessment is sent to the court.
A hearing is held within 10 days. A notice of hearing is provided by mail to the petitioners and any attorney on record. A summons, a copy of the Notice of Hearing, and a copy of the petition is served on the subject by the Leon County Sheriffs Office. At the hearing, all relevant testimony is taken by the court and the court may enter an Order for Involuntary Treatment for a period not to exceed 60 days.
A voluntary admission occurs when a person seeks treatment for substance abuse and applies to a service provider to receive such treatment.
An involuntary admission occurs when there is good faith reason to believe the person is substance abuse impaired, and because of such impairment, the person has (a) lost the power of self control with respect to substance use, and either (b) has inflicted or attempted/threatened to inflict, or, unless admitted for treatment, is likely to inflict, physical harm to him/herself or another; or (c) the persons judgment has been so impaired because of substance abuse that he/she is incapable of appreciating the need for substance abuse services and to make a rational decision regarding substance abuse services.
Chapter 397 of the Florida Statutes is know as the "Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993". It provides for the involuntary or voluntary assessment and stabilization of a person allegedly abusing substances like drugs or alcohol, and provides for treatment of substance abuse.
The Marchman Act can be found in Chapter 397 of the Florida Statutes. Visit our website and find the link to the statutes online.
If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact the Clerk and Comptroller's Office, ATTN: Probate, Leon County Courthouse, Suite 100, 301 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301, (850) 606-4180; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call 711 via the Florida Relay System.
The petition may be filed by the persons spouse, guardian, any relative, a private practitioner, the director of a licensed service provider or designee, or any three adults with personal knowledge of the person. For a minor, the petition may be filed by a parent, legal guardian, legal custodian, or licensed service provider. The petitioner must have recently observed the behavior of the person who is the subject of the petition.
For an adult, the petition may be filed by the spouse or guardian, any relative, a service provider or any three adults who have personal knowledge of the persons substance abuse impairment and the previous course of assessment and treatment. For a minor, a petition may be filed by a parent, legal guardian or service provider.