Marchman Act

What is a Marchman Act?

The Marchman Act is a law under the Florida Statute that enables family members to obtain help for a loved one who is unwilling to seek substance abuse services voluntarily. The Marchman Act is an involuntary order for substance abuse treatment that must be filed in court (each county varies in terms of the process). There are fees involved in filing. This is a last resort after all other efforts are exhausted.

What are the specific criteria for a Marchman Act?

  • Has lost the power of self-control with respect to substance use; and EITHER
  • Has inflicted or threatened or attempted to inflict physical harm on himself or another: OR
  • Is in need of substance abuse services and, by reason of substance abuse impairment, is incapable of appreciating the need for such services and of making a rational decision in regard to receiving services. However, mere refusal to receive such services does not constitute evidence of lack of judgment with respect to the need for such services.

What happens after I file the petition with the court?

The petition is reviewed by a judge to determine if the situation is an emergency or if the individual named in the petition needs to receive a subpoena to respond to the petition. If the petition is found to meet emergency status an order for law enforcement to pick up the person is issued. There is a fee for this service.

What happens when the person is picked up by law enforcement?

In each county there are designated facilities to complete an assessment on the person to determine if they meet the criteria for the Marchman Act.

 How long does the assessment take?

The law allows for up to 5 days to complete the evaluation on a court ordered assessment. During that time the facility may ask the court for an extension, release the client, or file a petition with the courts asking for the judge to court order treatment services.

What is the cost of the evaluation?

All of the facilities work with insurance and accept payment for services on a sliding fee scale.

How long can a person be court ordered into treatment services?

The judge can court order an individual into services for up to 60 days. 

Who can I contact for additional information?