Involuntary commitment to rehab for drugs and alcohol falls under the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993. This is also called the Marchman Act. It offers emergency assistance and temporary confinement for people requiring evaluation and treatment for drugs in the state of Florida. With a balanced, long-term plan, the Marchman Act has the opportunity to assist a person by having their recovery put within the framework of a court-order.
The Marchman Act Works like this
A petition for involuntary assessment is filed in the county court where the individual in need resides. The court must recognize that the person filing the petition is doing so in good faith. There must be reason to believe, along with direct knowledge that this person in question has lost all power of self-control in how it relates their use of drugs and alcohol. There must exist a likelihood that there is great potential of this person harming themselves or others. Moreover, it has to be demonstrated that the impaired person cannot make rational decisions and does not appreciate the need for treatment.
The court hears all the testimony and then comes the time when it enters an order for involuntary assessment to evaluate and stabilize the person for up to five days. At that time the assessment is reviewed with the court, and at that point the court can make an order for involuntary treatment, not to exceed 60 days.
How can someone file a Marchman Act Petition?
Involuntary admission to a rehab or mental health facility starts with the filing of a petition. The process is reasonably simple. A clerk at the local county court will give the petitioner a packet of documents to complete. The documents will detail what the petitioner has observed in regard to symptoms and their magnitude. Once the documents have been completed, the clerk will present the completed petition to the magistrate who signs the order. After the order is signed, it will be presented to the county sheriff.
The sheriff may or may not be able to serve the order. Sometimes the impaired person cannot be located. There is also the case where the person in-need does appears to be sober and fully okay. Because of that possibility, the statute gives up to five days for the assessment period. The person in-need can be released within a few days however.
How can I file a Marchman Act Petition?
Filing the Marchman Act is simple. Getting it to work for a loved one in-need can be more challenging. Even though timing is critical during a crisis, it is best to consider all options first.
Filing a Marchman Act petition by yourself
The cheapest way to file the Marchman Act is to do it yourself. Visit the local county courthouse, complete the package, and turn it into the court. Remember though, as the petitioner it’s your job to ensure all details are correct and in order. Any mistakes or assumptions will lead to misfiled petitions and that will be considered your responsibility and really hurt your chances of successfully getting through the system. If your loved one falls through on a misfiled petition, then the saving money part of this option really isn’t worth it. For Palm Beach County, here is a link to the Marchman act petition all and forms you might need.
Filing a Marchman Act Petition with a lawyer
Enlisting a lawyer to file the Marchman Act will be the most costly option. Retainers can range from $7,500-$9,500. A good attorney will prepare the legal proceeding. Bear in mind though, it is not the attorney’s responsibility to help you find and monitor an effective treatment course to make certain the care for your loved one is continuous.
Help with Filing a Petition for the Marchman Act
Call our admissions department at (855) 202-4220 or email contact@FCFRmd.com for assistance in filing a Marchman Act Petition.