Marchman Act Attorney Palm Beach County, FL


Most people do not want to violate a Court order and risk going to jail. But sometimes, it is just the thing that needs to happen to get their attention that they are killing themselves and they need help. The Marchman Act allows for the involuntary civil commitment of a person who is struggling with substance abuse addiction. They have to have become powerless to that addiction, and can no longer rationalize that they need help with their addiction. The person must not be willing to seek voluntary treatment on their own and they must be at risk of harming themselves or others without the intervening treatment. This procedure involves filing a petition with the Clerk of the court.

More than a dozen states have laws dealing with involuntary commitment for addiction treatment. Florida’s Marchman Act is among the most progressive of these laws, and Fort Lauderdale attorney Raymond G. Ferrero III is an expert in this field. In this section, Ray answers some of the more common questions about the Marchman Act.

The person completing the paperwork must swear to its veracity, then the petition is notarized and sent to a judge for review. Drug and Alcohol Attorneys is a practice dedicated to providing those with mental health and substance abuse disorders with exemplary legal representation and guidance to the appropriate services for a successful future. Discover the facts about the Marchman Act and the implications of the petition process.

The court will review all of the required documents and evidence that the petitioner files and then make a decision on whether the Marchman Act is appropriate to invoke at this time. If the court decides to go forth with invoking the act, then the individual in question will be held for up to five days in order for an assessment to be conducted and for stabilization purposes. Once the temporary involuntary hold is up, the courts can then review further information to decide if they are going to order treatment or allow the individual to return home. If they choose to point the individual in the direction of treatment, they cannot make them participate in a program for longer than 60 days.

Does the Respondent Have to Be a Florida Resident to Receive Treatment Under the Marchman Act?


Many counties have a state-funded program that will cover the costs of assessment and treatment at a county-funded treatment center for those with no other way to pay for the care they need. The judge will evaluate the facts and then decide if the petition is is valid or not. If so, you will be required to present yourself at a designated treatment facility for evaluation. If the center thinks you don’t need treatment, you’re free to leave. Here, you have another advantage because the costs of the program are the petitioner’s responsibility, not yours.

how to fight a marchman act

Keep in mind that, as the petitioner, you will be required to attend all future hearings. If the person is a minor, the petition may be filed by a parent, legal guardian, legal custodian, or licensed service provider. It can be filed by any family member or an adult who has direct personal knowledge of your loved one’s substance use impairment.

Does the Marchman Act Require a Locked Down Recovery Facility?

Until 1993, Florida had two statutes regulating substance abuse and addiction. The two statutes were combined to address issues relating to voluntary and involuntary admissions. Many people with addictions abuse more than one substance and Reverend Hal S. Marchman is recognized for his hard work advocating for services for substance abusers. After a Marchman Act petition is filed there is a hearing to determine whether or not the person qualifies to for assessment and stabilization. If so, they are sent to a facility for up to five days so that their drug dependency can be assessed by a physician.

how to fight a marchman act

Treatment providers are under very strict rules about what they can share with parties other than the respondent, due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Under this privacy law, the respondent’s health information cannot be shared with anyone not involved in the patient’s treatment, unless the patient waives their privilege and gives explicit consent. Given that Marchman Acts occur under pressure and often duress, it is not particularly common for the respondent to want to share their treatment information. The consequences of ignoring a Marchman Act treatment order depend on the individual judge. Refusing to comply with a treatment order is the equivalent of being in contempt of court, so the person could be subject to going to jail if they are found to be out of compliance with the court order. The hearing date for a Marchman petition can be scheduled a maximum of 10 days after the date of filing.

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The Filing Process

A- It is up to the family or the friend who files the Marchman Act petition to locate a facility to do the assessment and treatment. We have many excellent, ethical treatment facilities which accept insurance or are private pay facilities. In Palm Beach County, there is Drug Abuse Foundation in Delray Beach. In Broward County, there is Broward Addiction Recovery Center but only for Broward residents. Families of individuals with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders ask many questions about the Marchman Act. The following are frequently asked questions we receive in our office and the responses.

Take a look below at the different aspects of this Florida statute and how they can affect or help you. They have already been to an in-patient substance abuse treatment center, left before the treatment center recommended it and went back to their substance abuse. When seeking help for a loved one in a court of law, an experienced attorney with a complete understanding of the Florida Marchman Act statute can and will increase the possibility of success. It’s best to have that conversation with a treatment center before you go through with filing for a Marchman Act, though. After all, if you don’t have a place for your loved one or friend to go when treatment is ordered by the court, then it could be a wasted effort.

If the addict violated the judge’s order to seek treatment, they must return to court to answer to judge explaining their noncompliance. Having an addicted loved one can be heartbreaking and frightening. Routinely dealing with the fallout of their unpredictable or unethical behavior may also leave you desperately searching for solutions. In order to make the determination of what happens next, the court reviews the findings of the addiction professional who conducted the assessment.

Sometimes, the facility will notify the family or the attorney for the family and the family can file a Motion For Indirect Civil Contempt. In either event, there will be a hearing at which time the person leaving treatment will be called to task for leaving contrary to the Court order. Usually, the individual will be given the option of being allowed to return to treatment after a scolding by the Court or to go to jail. Almost everyone in my experience chooses to go back to treatment. This is the leverage of the Marchman Act and one of the reasons it works.

If you’d like to know whether your insurance may cover the full or partial cost of rehabilitation at one of American Addiction Centers’ various rehab centers across the states, simply fill in your information in the form below. We help thousands of people change their lives with our treatment programs. The content on is brought to you by American Addiction Centers , a nationwide network of leading substance abuse and behavioral treatment facilities. An intensive outpatient program involves going to treatment several hours per day but returning home when you’re done.

Mr. Schlam spent five years at Legal Aid of Broward prior to founding a forensic treatment agency which he ran for the next several years. One advantage of hiring a law firm is having the ability to skip this first step and expedite the entire eco sober house complaints process, especially the crucial phase of having the person medically stabilized. A lawyer will file a sworn petition that lays out the facts and demonstrates the need for immediate substance abuse assessment, detox and intervention.

The Respondent will then be asked to admit to using the drugs found in their system. The Respondent is asked to acknowledge that it is a presumptive test, and if positive or adulterated, it could lead to a requirement for a more controlled and scientific test. The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent men and women served with a summons to appear in court for a Marchman Act proceeding. You can work with your lawyer to make clear that your behavior does not cause a risk of harm to yourself or others. Required documentation might be missing, or critical filing deadlines missed, rendering the petition invalid.

As long as the provider is licensed and you can arrange payment for treatment, you and other petitioners can agree on a treatment provider for the respondent’s care. It is generally a good idea to seek the respondent’s cooperation in choosing the provider, as it can increase treatment retention. There may be certain services that only a few treatment programs provide that may make the person more amenable to accepting treatment. The Florida Marchman Act allows a civil court to order requiring an adult impaired by addiction to undergo an assessment for substance abuse and, potentially, complete treatment. If the person in question does not comply with the civil court order, there is a range of potential legal consequences decided by the individual judge. In short, the Marchman Act allows you to help a loved one who is in danger due to severe addiction by officially intervening and pointing them towardtreatment options.

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While some patients will voluntarily go to treatment and accept help, sometimes it is necessary to have a compulsory order keeping them on track and we are always prepared to advance your goal of saving your loved one’s life. The petition may be filed by the same petitioners as involuntary assessment and should be filed within 72 hours after the patient’s original Involuntary Admission. The court can schedule a hearing within 10 days or issue an order immediately. We petition the court Ex Parte and as an emergency to get your loved one to treatment as soon as possible. As the Respondent in a Marchman Act your loved one will be assigned an attorney at the Part Two hearing.

They will be able to speak with the judge and prepare you for questions that may be asked of you during the hearing process. If you have been court ordered into Treatment under Part Two of the Marchman Act, each treatment order is good for 90 days. At the end of each 90 day period, a renewal petition can be entered by your substance abuse treatment center or the petitioner. If that happens, a hearing will only be held if your loved one contests the extension of treatment. The Marchman Act established a variety of methods under which substance abuse assessment, stabilization and treatment could be obtained on an involuntary basis.

No one besides the petitioners, respondent, lawyers, and care providers have access to the court records on the petition. There will be no acknowledgment that a case has been filed either online or on the records sheet. You can be sure your privacy and that of the respondent will be protected by law. Private centers also have a great deal more resources than county treatment programs. The respondent will enjoy better accommodations, more forms of therapy, and possibly even alternative therapies that may enhance the treatment experience. Someone under an assessment order via the Marchman Act can be held for up to 72 hours.

In certain circumstances, an individual may be ordered to attend a rehabilitation center even if they are not addicted to any substances. This often occurs with teenagers and young adults who are suspected by overly cautious teachers or physicians. Whether you or someone you know is currently suffering from addiction, you are likely aware that reliance on substances such as alcohol or drugs can make it challenging to live a normal life. Addiction makes life difficult for those who live with it, but it also affects their loved ones as well. Our team assists both individual and business clients with all their legal needs.

The respondent can also be held in contempt of court for leaving the facility or for failing to stay abstinent from alcohol/drugs. In these cases, a rule to show cause will be filed by us and then ruled upon by the judge. If the petitioner has private insurance or the financial means to pay for treatment, the court will order him/her to the facility decided upon by the parties. If the respondent is indigent or has no means to pay for treatment, he/she will be ordered to a county-funded facility…if he/she meets the eligibility requirements of that facility’s diagnostic guidelines. In order to have a person court-ordered to treatment under the Marchman Act, a petition must be filed with the court.

The Marchman Act allows the court to order the respondent to undergo substance abuse treatment for a period of up to 90 days. For many people, this is more than enough time to see positive results from treatment and begin a stable recovery. If the person is resistant to treatment or is eco sober house not making enough progress and the court determines that the initial treatment period has been insufficient, the judge may order further treatment in further 90-day increments. A Marchman Act can be filed in some cases by a doctor or law enforcement officer, typically in emergencies.

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