Discover the facts about the Marchman Act and the implications of the petition process. As a leading Florida Intervention service company we have dealt with hundreds of involuntary treatment cases and can help you make an informed and correct decision for your loved one.
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Our mission is to provide valuable information about the Florida Marchman Act and to challenge our readers to really consider whether there is a better way to intervene. 100% of our callers believe that it will take a legal order to help their loved one, and yet over 95% of those who hire us are able to bypass the courts and achieve a better outcome. Call today for a free consultation with Florida’s leading intervention experts.
What is the Marchman Act?
The Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993, or more commonly referred to as the Marchman Act, provides for emergency assistance and temporary detention for individuals requiring substance abuse evaluation and treatment in the state of Florida. When properly applied to a well-balanced, long-term plan, the Marchman Act has the potential to help an individual reach a healthy bottom by putting into place a court-ordered framework to help support their recovery.
How does the Marchman Act Work?
The Marchman Act is initiated by filing a petition for involuntary assessment in the county court where the impaired individual resides. The petition must be filed in good faith by a person recognized by the court to do so. The petitioner must have reason to believe, and/or direct knowledge that an individual has lost the power of self-control with regard to substance abuse and that there exists the likelihood that the individual has the potential to inflict harm upon themselves or others unless they get help. Furthermore, it must also be demonstrated that the impaired individual is without the capacity to make rational decisions with regard to appreciating the need for treatment.
Once all relevant testimony has been heard by the court, it may enter an order for involuntary assessment to assess and stabilize the impaired individual for a period not to exceed five days. The findings of that assessment are then reviewed with the court which may then enter an order for involuntary treatment for a period not to exceed 60 days. Keeping those proceedings in mind, in the hands of a well-trained professional interventionist, working with the support of likeminded professionals within the legal community, the Marchman Act can be introduced by the friends and family of the impaired individual as a healthy boundary to actually help them break through their own level of resistance.
How is a Marchman Act Petition filed?
Filing the Marchman Act is a fairly simple process. The clerk at your local county court will provide you a packet to complete in which you will be asked to detail your observations regarding the severity of the symptoms that you have witnessed. Once the packet is all filled out, the clerk of the court will present your completed petition to the magistrate in charge of signing the order. Once the order is signed, it may then be sent to the county sheriff to actually enforce the order by bringing the impaired individual to the assessment center. Although the process of initiating the Marchman Act order may appear to be simple, your goal of finally getting court ordered treatment for your loved one is far from over. In actuality, the Marchman Act process, is similar to suing someone in court. Even if you win the case and damages are awarded, you may never actually see a dime of your settlement.
The sheriff may not be able to serve the order because the person in need of treatment may not be found, even after multiple attempts are made to locate the person. Making multiple attempts to serve a Marchman Act order may not necessarily be the most pressing matter for your local sheriff. Additionally, once your loved one arrives at the assessment center, they may appear to be stone cold sober, perhaps with only faint traces of mood altering substances in their system, and even well groomed. For that reason, although the statute provides that the assessment period can be up to 5 days, they may be released within only a few days of the assessment.
How can a certified interventionist offer me an alternative to the Marchman Act process?
Marchman Act Florida is national leader in working with individuals that may require court ordered treatment. We specialize in helping families create, implement, and monitor comprehensive treatment solutions to meet the unique and diverse clinical needs of our consumers. We recognize the Marchman Act as a powerful judicially therapeutic tool to help an individual in need of immediate substance abuse treatment. Your comprehensive intervention counselor will be there for you throughout the process and will provide you and your family with solid direction and support to you and your loved one.
How do I file a Marchman Act Petition?
Filing the Marchman Act simple. Actually making the statute work effectively for your loved one battling an addiction is much more complicated. Although we know that time is of the essence when it comes to handling a crisis situation, we encourage our clients to carefully consider all of their options before taking action:
Filing Option #1
The least expensive option is to file the Marchman Act yourself. Simply go to your local county courthouse, complete the Marchman Act package, and submit it to the court. However, keep in mind that since you are the petitioner it is your responsibility to make sure that all the details of the case are in order. Any miscalculations or misfiled petitions may fall back on you and your ability to work through the system. Although the cost may be the least on the front end, if your loved one falls through the cracks in the system, trying to file the Marchman Act yourself may actually become the most costly in the end.
Filing Option #2
Hiring a lawyer to file the Marchman Act is generally the most expensive option, with retainers typically ranging anywhere from $7,500-$9,500. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to help you prepare for the legal proceeding, however, is not necessarily responsible to help you create, implement, and monitor an effective treatment plan to ensure continuity of care.
Filing Option #3
A caring a professional comprehensive intervention counselor will be able to create, implement, and monitor a treatment plan individualized to meet a variety of case management and therapeutic needs to help ensure continuity of care and compliance. The fee for the comprehensive intervention counselor is typically half of that for the attorney while generally providing significantly more time with the client and all those concerned. The comprehensive intervention counselor will help to locate a treatment option that fits, help to establish an open channel of communication, and map out a care plan that sticks with the ongoing support of loved ones. Your comprehensive intervention counselor will provide you guidance on how the Marchman Act can be applied to a well-designed long-term treatment plan.