Is someone you love struggling with alcohol or drug addiction? Do you fear that time is running out to save them?
Thankfully, a legal mechanism exists in Florida that makes it possible for family members and friends to take matters into their own hands and obtain a court order that forces their loved one to get treatment when they won’t do it for themselves.
MARCHMAN ACT: A POWERFUL INTERVENTION TOOL FOR ADDICTS AND THEIR FAMILIES
The Florida Marchman Act is a civil process that requires someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol to enter into a court-ordered and monitored drug and alcohol assessment, stabilization (detox) and/or treatment program. Therefore, the substance abuser must comply with the order. Otherwise, the substance abuser may be held in contempt of court and face legal consequences. Legal consequences even include incarceration.
At the Law Offices of Michael T. Rabideau, we assist families in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County with putting their loved ones on the path to treatment and recovery using the Marchman Act. Additionally, we provide legal representation to individuals who feel they are unjustly forced into treatment.
Call us today (561) 820-4848 to schedule a free consultation.
WHO CAN FILE A MARCHMAN ACT PETITION?
In order to file a Marchman Act petition, you must be a person acting in good faith who has observed the behavior of the addict, and accepted by the court as…
- a spouse
- a guardian
- any relative
- treating physician
- a director of a licensed service provider
- any three adults with personal knowledge of the person’s substance abuse
HOW DO I PROVE MY LOVED ONE NEEDS IMMEDIATE TREATMENT?
You will need to demonstrate that the individual has become impaired due to abuse of a substance and is either in imminent danger of harming themselves or others and has lost the capacity to make rational decisions related to their well-being and care.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE COVERED UNDER THE MARCHMAN ACT
IS FILING A MARCHMAN PETITION A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD?
No, in fact. Any treatment ordered for your loved one is strictly confidential and protected by Federal HIPAA laws.
MARCHMAN ACT PROCESS IN PALM BEACH COUNTY
STEP ONE: FILE AN INVOLUNTARY ASSESSMENT AND STABILIZATION PETITION WITH THE COURT
To initiate the Marchman Act process, we can prepare and file an Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization Petition on your behalf at the County Courthouse located on 205 North Dixie Highway West Palm Beach, Florida in the Mental Health Office. In fact, the petition will lay out the facts and demonstrate the need for immediate substance abuse intervention, detox and assessment.
STEP TWO: OBTAIN COURT ORDER FOR EVALUATION AND STABILIZATION
After the petition is filed, the court schedules a hearing within 10 days. At the hearing, you can present evidence and testimony to back up your claim that your loved one needs emergency intervention. The court may then enter an order for involuntary assessment to detain your loved one for five days. This way, they are properly and safely evaluated and stabilized.
Arrangements can be made for assessment at a private facility. Otherwise, the court can direct the Sheriff’s Office to take your loved one into custody and transport them to a public facility licensed by the Department of Children and Families.
If necessary, we can also bypass the hearing and expedite the process by entering an emergency (ex parte) order. This is an attempt to get your loved one assessed within 24 to 48 hours.
STEP THREE: RECEIVE TREATMENT RECOMMENDATION FROM ASSESSMENT FACILITY; FILE PETITION FOR INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT
After your loved one is evaluated and detoxed, the facility sends a written assessment to the court. If the facility recommends further treatment, we can file a Petition for Involuntary Treatment with the court. The judge can then order your loved one into mandatory addiction treatment for a period of 60-90 days.
PALM BEACH COUNTY MARCHMAN ACT TREATMENT FACILITIES
Drug Abuse Foundation (DAF)
400 N Swinton Ave
Delray Beach, FL 33444
5400 East Avenue
West Palm Beach, FL 33407
DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE — GET COURT ORDERED REHAB FOR YOUR LOVED ONE TODAY
If someone you love is in the throes of alcohol or drug addiction and refuses to seek or accept help, call us today. Conversely, if you are the subject of a Marchman Act petition and feel like your are unfairly dragged into treatment, you have the right to an attorney at every stage of the judicial proceedings.