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My loved one has been Baker Acted before and released, so why do I need a lawyer this time?

Hello, everyone! It’s Mark, and welcome to another edition of our video newsletter. I want to talk about the Baker Act and individuals who were baker-acted in the past and got released.

So I had a phone call from a family who told me their loved one had been baker-acted for the third time in the last three months. They asked me, “Why should we bother to hire a lawyer? Why should we bother to try and get our loved one out? It’s our stepfather, he’s been Baker acted twice in the last couple of months, and they always let him out.” Well, here are a couple of reasons why:

Number one, if your loved one needs help and they’re unwilling to get it voluntarily, we need to have a conversation because there are ways to help you have the authority to decide for them. We need to have that conversation because if they’ve been baker-acted three times in the last several months, something is going on here. Perhaps they need help.

The second thing you need to consider is that just because they’ve been released a couple of times in the past doesn’t guarantee that they’re going to be released this time. If they’ve been baker-acted several times in the past, at some point, the state is going to tell the family that they’ve given them enough opportunity to fix it; the opportunity for your loved one to get help, and how the family didn’t bother to do anything about it. The state will then decide to take care of them and put them in one of the state hospitals. When this happens, you won’t be able to make any more decisions for them because the state will do it for you. When they think your loved one is okay and they’re stabilized, they will inform you, and you can come and get them.

That’s the danger of relying on they will be released because the same thing happened before. At some point, they’re not going to be released and the state will take custody and control of your loved one. You won’t be making any more decisions for them. When that happens, it will be too late because the facility will file for a court order, and your loved one will get stuck in a state of mental health facility, potentially for up to six months and even longer if they don’t stabilize.

You might feel like you don’t need a lawyer and don’t need to petition the court. But in my experience, at some point and usually, that point comes the first time they get baker-acted, not the third time. At some point, they’re going to get stuck there because the state can say, “Look, we’re done. We’re going to take care of them for you. When we’re done, we’ll let you know.”

Anyway, those are my thoughts on that particular question. Keep sending me those questions; I really appreciate it.

With that said, take care of yourselves and be well.

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