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Can I use the baker act to treat someone who is an alcoholic?

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Hello, everyone! Welcome to another edition of our video newsletter.

In this video, I want to answer a question that was asked of me which is, “Can I use the baker act to treat a family member who has an issue with alcohol?” The answer is no. However, if there’s an emergency, you should call 9-1-1.

As I’ve said in many of my other videos, the Baker Act is not a treatment statute. It is explicitly designed for one purpose— emergency stabilization. I got a lot of calls about people wanting to use the Baker Act to treat people, and I tell them unless it’s an emergency, don’t use the Baker Act. What typically happens is the family calls the police, or they go to the courthouse, and they file a petition under Chapter 394, the Baker Act. What they do is they get the petition granted. Then the police go out to pick somebody up.

Now, the person at a Baker Act receiving facility. After 72 hours, the facility is free to file its petition, known as a petition for involuntary placement. Then, they basically ask the court to allow the state to step into your shoes or the petitioner’s shoes and brush them aside. The state only is going to make medical decisions and clinical decisions for the person you were trying to get help for if it’s an emergency situation.

Again, call 9-1-1 if someone is threatening to harm themselves or hurt somebody else. That’s the whole point of the Baker Act. If you’re only trying to get somebody into treatment, please don’t use it. We have the Marchman Act statute on the books here in Florida. We have a great guardianship statute, and we can also do some type of intervention.

Thanks once again for this question. Take care and be safe.

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