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Does the Baker Act authorize outpatient services?

Hello, everyone! It’s Mark, and welcome back. In this video, I want to talk to you about a petition for involuntary outpatient services.

In other videos, you’ve heard me talk about the 72-hour-period, and if the facility plans to keep you after 72 hours, they have to file a petition for involuntary placement. Involuntary placement can mean that you’re placed sort of in the facility, but it also can mean that they are petitioning for a court order to have you placed in outpatient services.

What does that mean? What’s the difference? When you’re inpatient, that means that you’re going to be residing at the facility. It’s like being in jail, but it’s not a jail, just a secure facility. But there are times when the statute does talk about outpatient services. This means you get to live at home, and you would have to go to treatment two, three, or four times a week. Whatever is recommended.

The thing that’s important to understand here is that even if you get recommended for outpatient services, it’s still a court order. Meaning to say, you don’t have any choice. Suppose the 72 hours go by and the facility files a petition. In that case, there’s going to be a hearing. The judge or the magistrate decides that you’re going to be allowed to participate in outpatient services rather than the involuntary placement. This means you’ll be living at home, but if you do not comply with that court order, you can be brought back into court, and the court can sanction you. What does that mean? It means that the court could modify the order and place you in involuntary services. It also means the court could hold you in contempt and send you to jail for violating the court order. This is the difference between inpatient services and outpatient services.

Of all the cases handled here at Baker Act Attorneys, I’ve never actually seen anybody get recommended for outpatient services. I have seen people who got discharged after we successfully fought the Baker Act, and then the facility decided that they needed to come to their outpatient aftercare program. I tell my client that they don’t have to do it unless there’s a court order. If they don’t have a court order, you have no obligation to comply with the facility’s request that you go to their outpatient services. Frankly, if you need services, you have a right to choose your service provider and not one at the Baker Act facility. If you’ve just been held illegally or unlawfully, the last place you want to go for outpatient services is the facility that illegally detained you.

I appreciate the question that was sent to me through the website. If you have any more questions, feel free to message me through the website. You can email me at You can reach out to us over the phone. We don’t charge for a consultation.

With that said, until the next video. Take care and be safe.

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