The Baker Act Involuntary Mental Commitment

The Baker Act Involuntary Mental Commitment

Florida has its own civil commitment laws and standards establishing the criteria that must be met before an individual can be ordered into involuntary treatment in the hospital or in the community for symptoms of severe mental illness. The Florida Mental Health Act authorizes both inpatient (hospital) and outpatient (community) treatment, which was termed “involuntary outpatient placement” in the Baker. Florida still uses a treatment standard based primarily on a person’s likelihood of being dangerous instead of using a more progressive “need for treatment” standard as in many states.

A person may be placed in involuntary inpatient treatment under a court finding of clear and convincing evidence that mental illness is present and that because of the mental illness, the individual is unable or refuses to make responsible decisions with respect to voluntary placement for treatment AND either without treatment, be incapable of surviving alone or with the help of willing family or friends, or be likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself/herself in a manner that will pose a real and present threat of substantial harm to well-being; OR be a danger to self/others, as evidenced by recent behavior

For outpatient treatment, a person must meet the different criteria. They must be unlikely to survive safely in community without supervision; have a history of noncompliance that includes two hospitalizations in past 36 months; or act/threaten/attempt violence to self/others in 36 months immediately preceding petition filing; be unlikely to voluntarily participate; be in need of intervention in order to prevent relapse or deterioration likely to result in serious harm to self/others; and likely to benefit from assisted treatment

If you know someone who you believe is in need of counsel concerning involuntary mental health placement, you should seek the expertise of a qualified attorney. There are so many different circumstances that a proper answer to your particular problem can only be obtained by a trained and experienced lawyer.

If you have any question regarding the Baker Act and legal remedies/rights our firm may be able to help you.

If you require the immediate services of a highly experienced and aggressive attorney, please call for a FREE CONSULTATION


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