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Marchman Act in Florida

marchman act in Florida

Also known as the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act (1993), the Marchman Act is a statute used in the State of Florida to help concerned loved ones stage an intervention and enforce mandatory drug rehabilitation on behalf of a substance abuser who is reluctant to seek help. It can be exercised by family members for relatives aged over 18.

What is The Marchman Act In Florida?

With over 3,100 drug-induced deaths per year, studies show that Florida’s drug problems are worse than the national average. In fact, residents in the Sunshine State are more likely to die from drugs than road accidents or firearms. Moreover, drugs and alcohol abuse can destroy people’s lives without causing death due to health complications, broken relationships, and financial difficulties attributed to a dependence on their chosen substance.

However, many drug abusers won’t seek help and don’t want to admit that they have a problem. The Marchman Act in Fort Lauderdale and the rest of Florida is designed to help addicts get the support they need, even when it is involuntary.

Research shows that only 1 in 5 Americans who need substance abuse treatments actually receive the necessary support. Laws like the Marchman Act aim to improve those figures by giving concerned family members the authority to legally force a loved one to enter drug rehab treatment. After a judge has passed the petition, refusing to seek treatment can lead to legal repercussions. So, it is a very effective strategy for encouraging admissions.

Here at Compassion Behavioral Health, we offer a comprehensive service to families who need to exercise the Marchman Act after failing to get their loved one to sign up voluntarily. Of course, we can subsequently provide the necessary treatments for a wide range of addictions.

a person filling out the paperwork for the Marchman Act

Why Would You Marchman Act A Loved One?

The thought of using the Marchman Act may seem like a drastic measure, especially as failure to complete treatment plans enforced by the courts could lead to jail time. However, almost a quarter of a million Americans are sent to jail for drug-related crimes each year. Besides, the failure to take action through a legal intervention could potentially lead to even worse outcomes than incarceration.
There are many reasons why using the Marchman Act may be necessary, including but not limited to;

  • You have run out of alternatives as your loved one continues to resist rehabilitation services.
  • Introducing the potential threat of legal repercussions will get the addict to finally see the severity of the situation.
  • Taking action rather than just threatening it shows an addict that loved ones are genuinely concerned.
  • It can lead to treatment starting in as little as 10 days, finally helping the individual get their life back on track.
  • Your loved one will need to complete the full program, which gives them a far better chance of staying sober.

Above all else, you know that your troubled loved one will thank you in the long run. As well as being highly effective, it can lead to action far sooner than alternative solutions.

Signs That The The Marchman Act Should Be Used

The Marchman Act should be used whenever your loved one meets the Marchman Act criteria and you are worried about them. Individuals fighting substance addiction could come from any background too. While over 29% of all admissions are people in their 20s, it should be noted that all age groups are represented with 7.5% coming from the 12-17 category and nearly 2% coming from the over 60s. Signs that someone in your life needs help include;

  • They lie about their substance usage,
  • Their substance usage has caused financial problems,
  • They have withdrawn from other hobbies,
  • Their health and safety have been compromised,
  • They have undergone a personality change.

A judge may deny the petition if you cannot prove that your loved one meets the Marchman Act requirements if they are beyond help offered by rehab centers, or it is deemed that it’s unlikely they’ll be able to pay. In legitimate cases, though, the courts will pass the Marchman Act as it is in the best interests of the individual who needs that support.
If your petition is successful, the Marchman Act can be the first step to helping your loved one get the support they need. Compassion Behavioral Health’s team of dedicated experts can provide a range of bespoke outpatient services for; Alcohol addiction, Amphetamine addiction, Benzodiazepine addiction, Cocaine addiction, Heroin addiction, Opioid addiction, and Sedative addiction.

Family intervention to discuss the Marchman Act

How To Marchman Act Someone

The first step you must take is to check that your loved one meets the Marchman Act criteria. Marchman Act requirements state that the abuser has become unable to stop or control their usage while they will either be unable to rationalize decisions or started self-harming. In most cases, loved ones that apply for the Marchman Act to be used will have seen their family member deteriorate in front of their eyes.

In short, if you know that a loved one could benefit from a dedicated drug treatment plan, the Marchman Act route is a likely solution. Here’s how to complete the process in style;

  • A petition will need to be completed. This can be done by a spouse, relative, or guardian. Alternatively, a petition may be filed if three other individuals (such as work colleagues) have seen a person’s drug usage become dangerous while a physician or law enforcement office can also complete an emergency petition.
  • Once completed, the petition must be filed with the local county’s clerk of the court. Most people find that it is useful to hire an experienced attorney to ensure that the Marchman Act petition is completed accurately. This can help the procedure run quickly and smoothly.
  • This is then passed to a judge or magistrate, who will decide whether an Ex Parte order is required. If it is, they will make an emergency mandate and call for law enforcement officers to bring the petitioned individual in for an involuntary assessment at the facility.
  • If it is not an emergency, the judge will likely call for a Marchman Act hearing to take place within the next 10 days. All parties are required to attend and may request legal counsel if desired. In some cases, the magistrate may reject the petition without even needing the hearing.
  • At the hearing, testimonies are given and it falls on the petitioner(s) to prove that their loved one is a problematic substance user. If the judge grants the evaluation, it should be made within five days at one of the local county facilities unless an extension is agreed by the courts.
  • If the assessment shows that the petitioned individual does need support, the judge can set a 60-day (sometimes 90 days) treatment. It becomes a legal obligation that the individual must respect. Alternatively, the courts may discharge the person or set their status to voluntary, meaning they have the choice over whether to enter rehab.

It should be noted that filing the petition does not cost (although an attorney will charge) but a service charge will be payable to the local sheriff. Any subsequent evaluations or treatments must be paid by the client or their family, although this can be covered by insurance plans too.

Here at Compassion Behavioral Healthour experts can support clients at every stage of the process.

What are the Marchman Act requirements?

While a judge’s discretion is central to any hearing, the Marchman Act criteria is fairly simple. If the petitioned individual is unable to stop taking drugs and has attempted self-harm or become unable to make logical decisions about rehab, the petition will be passed.

Can I use the Marchman Act for child interventions?

In most cases, parents won’t need to use the Marchman Act to enforce an intervention for a child aged under 18. However, in situations where a hearing is required, the minor will be entitled to representation via a court-appointed attorney.

What happens at a Marchman Act hearing?

While each Marchman Act is different, most will begin with testimonies from the individual(s) who want an involuntary assessment to be completed on the petitioned substance abuser. The judge will then determine whether (and when) an assessment and treatment should occur.

How long does the Marchman Act process take in South Florida?

Once the appropriate Marchman Act forms have been completed and submitted, the hearing should be arranged within 10 days. Assuming the judge agrees to your petition, the Marchman Act order can be served by local law enforcement teams with immediate effect.

How can CBH help with a Marchman Act case?

The Marchman Act is only used in Florida (although most states have comparable schemes) but does require you to complete the petition and hearing before drug rehab can be enforced. We help with Marchman Act Miami Dade and Marchman Act Fort Lauderdale cases in style.