Marchman Act: Understanding Involuntary Commitment in Florida

Marchman Act Florida

Addiction is a family disease with far-reaching consequences – not only for the person who abuses substances, but also for the people who care about them most. If your loved one’s drinking or using is causing you to suffer, you may be desperately searching for options to get them the help they need. Though an intervention might help you accomplish this goal, it doesn’t always work if someone is in the depths of addiction. When your loved one is a danger to themselves, you may need to take another approach. Florida’s Marchman Act, one of the most progressive involuntary treatment laws in the U.S., offers a path to enter people with a substance use disorder into a rehab center. Though this law encourages people to voluntarily seek treatment, it also provides a way to have them involuntarily committed to a treatment facility for evaluation, stabilization and treatment.

How Does the Marchman Act Work?

The Marchman Act’s criteria limit its use to specific circumstances. For example, a law enforcement official may choose to detain an intoxicated person and commit them to treatment if they see someone under the influence endangering themselves or others in a public place.

The Marchman Act also allows concerned loved ones to petition the court to have someone committed for substance abuse if they have reasons to believe it is warranted. However, they must have evidence proving the person lacks the ability to make responsible decisions and is at risk of harming themselves or others.

How to Use the Marchman Act

Ideally, people living with substance use disorders will face the reality of their harmful behavior and agree to seek help on their own. In that case, they would willingly undergo an addiction evaluation from qualified health professionals and commit to the recovery journey.

Unfortunately, addiction causes profound denial and dishonesty. Even after repeated attempts to convince your loved one to enter treatment, they may stubbornly refuse, causing their well-being to deteriorate further. At that point, you may wish to take advantage of Florida’s Marchman Act.

  • First, reach out to an addiction treatment center near you to start the admissions process.
  • Once you have confirmed your chosen facility has an available bed, contact your county clerk’s office to request the necessary paperwork. For example, you’ll need to provide a description of the person, where to find them and what facility you have arranged to send them to.
  • After you file the required forms, your hearing will take place within 10 days.
  • If the judge agrees to the petition, the police will serve your loved one with the Marchman Act order and try to convince them to go voluntarily. If they still refuse, law enforcement will take them against their will.
  • The Marchman Act requires the treatment facility to hold the committed person for at least five days. However, in some cases, the rehab center may file for a longer-term stay of up to 60 days.

Why Choose Augustine Recovery?

If you are considering addiction and mental health treatment for a loved one or yourself, the Augustine Recovery Center awaits you. Located on an eight-acre campus between Moultrie Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida, we offer a quiet, compassionate retreat from the stressors of the outside world. Our recovery community provides safety, structure and discipline, allowing men and women to pursue their renewal in a single-gender environment.

To take the first steps on our continuum of care, meet our team, learn more about the benefits of our unique treatment approach and confirm your health insurance coverage today.