Can a Baker Act facility hold you for an additional 72 hours if you have revoked voluntary consent?
Hi, everyone. It’s Mark. And welcome back. In this video, I want to talk to you about revoking consent when you’ve agreed to stay voluntarily at a baker act facility. So if you have signed a voluntary admission agreement at a Baker Act, a facility, and whether it was coercion us or whether you were tricked or whether you actually realize what you were signing, the idea is that if you’re there voluntarily, well, then you should be able to leave
So I’m going to talk to you in this video about sort of what the statue says and the reality of the situation. So if you go to a facility and they get you to sign a voluntary admission agreement. And in other videos, I’ve talked about how that can happen. But you’ve signed the agreement. Once you’ve decided that you want to leave, the facility has 24 hours to release you.
If they don’t release you, then they’re supposed to file something with the court requesting a court order to detain you. And so that is sort of what the statute says. If they revolt consent, you’re supposed to go to court and petition the court for an order to detain a person. But the reality of the situation is that doesn’t happen. What tends to happen is the facility says, well, okay, if you’re evoking consent, that sounds fine, but we’re going to keep you anyway, and we’re going to keep you involuntarily, which means we get to keep you for another 72 hours.
And at the end of 72 hours, one of two things are going to happen. Either we’ll let you go, which probably isn’t going to happen, or we’re going to go to court and get a court order and keep you for much longer, potentially up to six months. So what’s really going on here is the Baker Act facilities are ignoring the statute. They’re violating the law. And by getting you to sign a voluntary admission agreement, first of all, they’re circumventing the requirements of due process that are in the Baker Act statute.
That’s a sort of separate conversation. But more importantly, they’re basically getting you to agree to stay. And then when you revoke consent, they’re ignoring your request. Again, they’re violating the statute. And instead of going to get a court order so that you get a hearing and due process, they’re just detaining you for up to another 72 hours and then deciding what they want to do with you afterwards.
And so what I would say to you and I’ve said this in other videos don’t agree to stay voluntarily. If the facility thinks they should keep you and whether they’re doing it legally or illegally, then let them go get a court order for it. You should have a hearing. You have a right to counsel. And so if you’re a family of a loved one who is at a facility, this is why I am so adamant about taking action as soon as possible, because nobody knows that your loved one is even there.
The facilities don’t report to anybody. They don’t have to tell anybody that your loved one is there and they are a lawyer to themselves. They are judge, juror and executioner. So if your loved one has been detained and they’re not free to leave after signing a volunteer admission agreement, then the time to take action is now. So we’re that said, thanks for tuning in see you in the next video.