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PROBATE COURT



Mental Health & Substance Abuse

  • Baker Act (Mental Health)
  • Marchman Act (Substance Abuse)

    ANNOUNCEMENT:

    After Hours Procedures for Baker Act and Marchman Act Hearings

    Effective immediately, the following after hours procedures for filing petitions for involuntary examination or involuntary placement under the Baker Act (Chapter 394, Florida Statutes) and for involuntary assessment and stabilization or involuntary treatment under the Marchman Act, (Chapter 397, Florida Statutes) are implemented:

    1. After hours means after 4:00 p.m. or before 8:00 a.m. on a regular work day, or at anytime during a holiday or weekend day.
    2. Baker Act petitions for involuntary examination or for involuntary placement and Marchman Act petitions for involuntary assessment and stabilization will be received for filing and date/time stamping by the Clerk of Court but will not be processed after hours. After hours filings will be processed on the next working day.
    3. Petitioners wishing to file afterhours shall be informed of the following;
      a.) Their petition will be processed the following work day.
      b.) Petitioner may contact law enforcement or call 911 in the event of an emergency relating to the respondent.

     

    BAKER ACT:

    A Baker Act is a means of providing individuals with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment when required. An Ex Parte Petition for Involuntary Examination is also called Ex Parte Baker Act.

    An ExParte Petition for Involuntary Examination may be filed:

    If there is reason to believe that a person is mentally ill and because of his or her mental illness:

    • The person has refused voluntary examination and/or is unable to determine whether an examination is necessary.
    • The person is likely to suffer from neglect and the refusal could threaten his or her well being.
    • If there is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment, the person will cause seriously bodily harm to himself or herself or others in the near future as evidenced by recent behavior.

    The personís whereabouts must be known and in Pinellas County and the person cannot be in jail.

    The petition can be filed by:

    • Anyone who has observed the behavior may complete a petition describing the actions of the person that cause them to think that there is a substantial likelihood that he or she will cause bodily harm to himself or herself or to others, or will suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself, posing a threat to his or her well being.

    You must provide the court with sworn written testimony that meets the criteria set forth by Florida law. By completing the petition, you are requesting the court for an order for the person to be involuntarily transported and examined at a designated mental health facility.

    There is no filing fee required to file a Petition for Involuntary Examination.

    When and where to file the petition:

    You may download and print the Petition for Involuntary Examination and file it at the listed Clerk's office locations, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please note printed forms are also available at these locations.

    What happens after the petition is filed:

    The court will review the petition. If the criteria required for involuntary examination has been met, a court order is issued, authorizing the Sheriff to pick up the person at the address provided in the petition. The Sheriff will transport the person to the nearest designated mental health facility. The facility must examine the person within 72 hours to determine the necessity of placement. If the examination by a psychiatrist determines that the person will need to be involuntarily placed for treatment, the facility will petition the court for a hearing within the 72 hours.

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    MARCHMAN ACT: Substance Abuse

    Marchman Act petitions that may be filed in Probate Court Records:

    • An Ex Parte Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization
    • or
    • An Ex Parte Petition for Involuntary Services

    A Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization may be filed:

    When there is reason to believe that a person is substance abuse impaired and:

    • Because of the impairment, he or she has lost the power of self control with respect to substance use.
    • The personís judgment is impaired because of substance abuse and he/she is incapable of appreciating the need for, and is unable to make a rational decision in regards to, substance abuse services.
    • He or she has either inflicted, attempted or threatened to inflict, or unless admitted, is likely to inflict, physical harm on himself or herself or another.

    The petition may only be filed by:

    • The personís spouse or guardian, any relative of the person, a director of a licensed service provider, a private practitioner, or any three adults who have personal knowledge of the personís substance abuse impairment.

    In the case of a minor, only the parents, legal guardian/custodian or licensed service provider can file a petition.

    When and where to file a Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization or Petition for Involuntary Services:

    You may download and print the Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization or Petition for Involuntary Services and file it at the listed Clerk's office locations, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please note printed forms are also available at these locations.

    Additional requirements when filing a Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization:

    • The petitioner must also make arrangements for an available bed in a designated facility prior to submitting the petition for filing.
    • To find the list of Florida Licensed Substance Abuse providers by city, visit the Substance Abuse page of the Florida Department of Children and Families website. From the "Essential Links" section on the left hand side, click on "For SAMH Providers," then click on "this listing" under the paragraph entitled ďSubstance Abuse Providers Currently Licensed by the Department.Ē

    • The person must be in Pinellas and the facility must be in Pinellas.
    • The petitioner will need to bring the following information with them: name of the facility with the bed, the name and phone number of the contact person at that facility, and the day and time the bed will be available.
    • If the court grants the petition, the petitioner must provide a check or money order (no cash or credit cards) to the Clerk, but payable to the Sheriff for $40.00, to either serve a summons on, or pick up and transport the person to the facility.
    • Should the court set a hearing, the petitioner has the burden of proof, is NOT entitled to a court-appointed attorney, and must prove that the patient is impaired and is in need of professional evaluation.

    What happens after the petition is filed:

    If the Court finds that the criteria have been met, an Order for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization will be issued by the Court. The Court may set the case for a hearing, or the Sheriff may ordered to transport the person to the designated facility. The facility then has 5 days to do an assessment. After the assessment has been completed at the facility, the petitioner may file a Petition for Involuntary Services of Substance Abuse for the patient.

    A hearing date is set for the determination of the need for treatment. The assessment results are subpoenaed as evidence for the hearing, and a summons to appear at the hearing is issued and served on the patient.

    At the hearing the court will hear all the evidence and determine if the Order for Involuntary Services for Substance Abuse is warranted.

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    Information is available about the following areas of the Probate Division:



    OFFICE LOCATIONS

    PROBATE COURT RECORDS
    315 Court Street, Room 106
    Clearwater, FL 33756
    Telephone: (727) 464-3321

    NORTH COUNTY BRANCH OFFICE
    29582 U.S. 19 North
    Clearwater, FL 33761
    Telephone: (727) 464-8700

    ST. PETERSBURG BRANCH OFFICE
    545 First Avenue North
    St. Petersburg, FL 33701
    Telephone: (727) 464-7000

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