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Fort Lauderdale Marchman Act Attorneys

Watching a loved one fall into drug and alcohol addiction can be extremely painful, as lives can be ruined, potential squandered, and relationships damaged or destroyed. Substance abuse harms both the lives of abusers and the lives of family, friends, and colleagues, but sometimes addicts refuse to seek treatment. Fortunately, Florida’s Marchman Act permits family members and loved ones of those dealing with addiction to seek involuntary treatment to get them the help they need. The experienced and dedicated Fort Lauderdale Marchman Act attorneys at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A., can help you help your loved ones get back on their feet.

The Marchman Act

The Marchman Act allows family or loved ones to petition the court to order court-ordered treatment for alcohol or substance abuse for a person who has refused to get help voluntarily. The court can order assessment, stabilization, and treatment for the subject of the order, known as the respondent, who is required to comply or face consequences. Because a Marchman Act order is a court order, the respondent must stay in treatment and stay sober or face court sanctions.

Who Can File

Under the statute, several people may file a petition for involuntary assessment and stabilization, including a spouse or guardian, relative, private practitioner, director of a licensed service provider, or any three adults with personal knowledge of the substance abuse. If the respondent is a minor, a parent, guardian, custodian, or licensed service provider may file the petition.

Initial Hearing

At the initial hearing, the court will determine whether the respondent meets the criteria for involuntary admission. This requires showing that he or she has lost self-control with regard to use of the substance, and either:

  • The substance abuse causes immediate physical danger to him or herself or others; or
  • The respondent is in need of treatment, and the substance abuse has made him or her incapable of understanding the need for treatment and making a rational decision in that matter.

The mere refusal of treatment, however, is not sufficient to satisfy the second option.

Assessment, Stabilization, and Treatment

If the court finds that the respondent meets the criteria for involuntary admission, it may admit him or her to a hospital or detox facility for five days. In some circumstances, the court may issue an emergency order and admit the respondent without an initial hearing.

After assessment and stabilization, the court may order involuntary long-term treatment to help your family member recover from his or her addictions and lead a productive life.

Legal Representation

If you are seeking treatment for a loved one, it is important to consult with an attorney. Marchman Act petitions can be difficult to craft, but an attorney can help you make your best case so that your petition is not denied, and your loved one gets the treatment that he or she needs.

If you have become the subject of a Marchman Act action, it is also imperative to have competent legal representation. Once an order of involuntary treatment is entered, it is difficult to reverse. However, even if we are unable to reverse or alter the order, we may be able to get you relief at one of the periodic review hearings that are mandated by statute.

Work with Joyce A. Julian, P.A., in Your Fort Lauderdale Marchman Act Matter

If you need advice and assistance to help a loved one get treatment for substance abuse, an attorney can answer your questions and work with you. Please contact Fort Lauderdale Marchman Act attorney Joyce A. Julian to schedule an initial consultation.

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