Can a Marchman Act hearing be conducted in your absence

As Seen On
  • abc
  • cbs
  • nbc
  • Florida Bar
  • The Miami Herald
  • Tampa Bay Times
  • msnbc


Hello, everyone. It’s Mark, and welcome back.

In this video, I want to talk to you about the Marchman Act and whether a hearing can be done without you being present. The simple answer is yes, but it depends. So when the court sets a hearing, normally, the court will issue a notice of hearing in a summons. The notice of hearing tells you when and where the hearing will take place, and the summons says you will appear, and if you don’t appear, you could be subject to contempt. That means appearing at the hearing is not optional. The summons is a court order. It carries with it the court’s full weight, force, and authority if you don’t show up. However, you have to be properly served for you to show up, meaning a process server or the sheriff has to come out and give you a copy of the notice of hearing of summons to be aware of the hearing. If you don’t receive a copy of the summons and then there was a hearing, well, how do you know to be there? But if you receive a copy of that notice of hearing, if you are served by either a process server or a law enforcement officer typically in Palm Beach County or the sheriff, and you don’t show up, you’ve waived your right to be present. Then, the court can and will conduct a hearing without you. You waived any opportunity to fight the allegations made against you, either at an assessment hearing or a treatment services hearing.

If the court listens to the petitioner’s evidence and grants their petition, the court can then go ahead and issue a pickup order—a civil arrest warrant. So the hearing takes place without you, the court rules against you and then basically gives an order of telling the police to go and get you. So what I mean is the court can do a hearing without you. You’ll have to deal with the consequences.

That’s the answer to that great question. See you in the next video.

    100% Confidential