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PROBATE COURT



Mental Health & Substance Abuse

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

    BAKER ACT: An Ex Parte Petition for Involuntary Examination also called Ex Parte 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 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 for Involuntary Examination 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 for Involuntary examination:

    You may request, complete and file a Petition for Involuntary Examination Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM at any of the following offices of the Clerk of the Circuit Court:

    • Probate Court Records, 315 Court Street, Clearwater;
    • St Petersburg Branch Office, 545 First Avenue, North, St. Petersburg;
    • North County Branch Office, 29582 U.S. 19 North, Clearwater
    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 Treatment
    A Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization may be filed:

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

    1. Because of the impairment, he or she has lost the power of self control with respect to substance use.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 Treatment:

    Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM at any of these three locations:

    • Probate Court Records, 315 Court Street, Clearwater;
    • St Petersburg Branch Office, 545 First Avenue, North, St. Petersburg;
    • North County Branch Office, 29582 U.S. 19 North, Clearwater
    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.

    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 Treatment of Subtance 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 Treatment 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

  • Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court
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