Should I wait for a Baker Act hearing?
Hello, everyone! Welcome to another edition of our video newsletter.
In this video, I want to talk to you about the concept of waiting for a hearing if you’ve been baker acted. We get lots of calls from people held in facilities and are told that a petition for involuntary placement will be filed. It means the state will step in and try to keep you. They will say to you; you shouldn’t worry because you get to the hearing. You’re going to be appointed a public defender to represent you. So, the families call me and say they don’t need to hire me, and they’ll wait for the hearing. Well, I’m telling you, that’s a terrible idea to wait. That 72-hour window is the legal window in which somebody can be held. If they meet the criteria, that is the window of opportunity to get your loved one released. What does that mean? It means that in 72 hours, in all likelihood, the facility probably hasn’t filed yet to keep your loved one, so that is my opportunity to go into court. Tell a judge that you’re being held illegally, that your rights under the statute have been violated. If you wait for a hearing, the facility may file for its court order. They will ask a judge to allow the state to step in so they can keep your loved one potentially up to six months. So, if you’re thinking about waiting for a hearing on the facility’s petition, it’s a terrible idea. If you play defense, you have to respond to the allegations made by the facilities psychiatrists that they should keep your loved ones there for a more extended time.
Don’t play defense; play offense. Make the facility respond to the allegations of illegal conduct because if you get to a placement hearing while you can make your case at that point, it’s probably too late.