How long can someone be held involuntarily?
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The person can be held involuntarily under chapter 394, also known as the baker act, for a period of up to six months in a state mental health facility. When it comes to fighting the baker act, the critical time is the first 72 hours— the period in which the person is supposed to be assessed. There’s supposed to be a clinical determination of whether the person meets the criteria to be held involuntarily. However, because there’s no oversight for nobody’s watching these facilities except for me, that 72 hour period is typically ignored. Thus, if they’ve been taken to a hospital, the time for medical clearance will delay the process. Hence, the most critical time is that 72 hours because that’s the time to call and ask a judge for an emergency order to get your loved one ordered out. If you don’t do that, the facility will file for a court order. They’re going to ask to keep your loved one for a period of up to six months, so you need a lawyer who is experienced in navigating chapter 394, The Baker Act.