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Once the Baker Act facility has filed a petition for involuntary placement, how long does my loved one have to wait to see the judge?

Hello, everyone! It’s Mark, and welcome back to our Q and A series.

In this video, I want to talk to you about the hearing on a petition for involuntary placement filed by the state’s Baker Act facility and when that hearing will take place.

The facility has the right to hold you for up to 72 hours; that’s the stabilization period. If you’re stable within one, two, ten, or 24 hours, they’re supposed to let you go. However, that rarely ever happens. Unless you hire a private lawyer like us, it does happen frequently. If the facility is planning to keep you beyond 72 hours, and I’ve talked about the criteria you can look for to determine if they’re actually going to do that, such as does your loved one have health insurance because that’s a very strong indicator that they’re going to keep you. Make sure that your loved one stays there. If the facility wants to keep you or your loved one for 72 hours, they’re going to file a petition for involuntary placement. At that point, the court is going to set a hearing.

When does that hearing take place? I’m going to read what the section statute says that’s applicable. The court shall hold the hearing on involuntary inpatient placement within five court working days, unless a continuance is granted. Working days do not include the weekend, so they get five days potentially plus the weekend, and they can move for a continuance. Perhaps the doctor that prepared the petition isn’t available. They’re entitled to prove their case, so they asked the court for a continuance to delay the hearing, so once the petition is filed, it automatically buys them five days. They know that even without proving their case, without presenting any evidence, all they need to do is file this petition which normally is a two, three pages document at most, that have very bare facts. In my experience, they don’t even meet criteria under the Baker Act, but that’s a whole other conversation, and they automatically get this time.

This is why I say and I’ve said in other videos that time is of the essence with these cases. You need to move as fast as possible and avoid going to the hearing. If you can avoid going to the hearing, there’s an excellent chance your loved one will be out and won’t have to spend an extra four or five days in the facility.

So with that said, another great question. Thanks for tuning in, and feel free to call us. I never charge for a consultation. You can email and message me through the website.

With that said, see you in the next video.

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