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What is the difference between Baker Act and Marchman Act?

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Hello, everyone! Welcome to another edition of the drug and alcohol attorneys video newsletter.

I’ve recently been getting many calls from people asking if we could assist with a baker act and when we get into the nitty-gritty. They’re trying to get somebody into treatment, which when I usually tell them that a Marchman Act or guardianship is more appropriate. So, I thought in this video that I would compare the Baker Act to a Marchman Act or guardianship. I’ve got some inanimate objects that I believe will help you understand how this all works.

I’ve talked about the Baker Act in many other videos. The baker act is just like this pen— it’s very narrow, it’s a tiny application. It’s up to a 72-hour hold for emergency stabilization only. It is not a treatment statute, and I’ve put out a lot of videos about the good, the bad, and the ugly side of the Baker Act.

This mug represents the Marchman Act. As you can see, it’s a little wider and has a little broader application than uh the Baker Act. The Marchman Act is Florida statute 397, while the Baker Act is 394. The Marchman Act is intended as an involuntary commitment statute for substance use and mental illness. As a general rule, it’s not designed for emergency stabilization. It can be used that way, but it is designed to get somebody into treatment. It’s a treatment statute, unlike the Baker Act. So the Marchman Act allows for a period of treatment for up to up to 90 days, which can get repeated. That is an involuntary commitment treatment statute for people with substance use.

This ball over here, this is guardianship. As you can see, it’s the broadest and the biggest of these inanimate objects I have. The guardianship statute basically gives a guardian, which could be the parent. It gives the guardian the ability to make decisions for somebody else who cannot make decisions for themselves. In other words, they lack the capacity to make what you and I would consider being rational, objective, reasonable decisions. Typically, this starts as a temporary emergency guardianship that is good for up to 90 days. During that time, an examining committee of three experts determines whether guardianship can be expanded beyond 90 days. In theory, somebody could lack the capacity for a significant period.

If you’re familiar with the Britney Spears case, her parents have had the California equivalent of guardianship over her for 10 or 11 years now. In addition to enabling the guardian to have the ability to make medical decisions, like going to treatment, it gives them the ability to mandate medication because somebody is unstable. It also provides the guardian the control over finances. Suppose there’s money used to finance a habit of being taken from a family as a family asset. As you can see, it’s a whole lot broader application. But I want to be clear because I’ve talked a lot about Baker Act which is not a treatment statute. If you try to use it, you’re going to find that the state could step in and push the family aside at some point. They could make decisions for your loved ones. The state typically does that when the family doesn’t initiate a Marchman Act or a Guardianship. The state steps in when you’ve had enough time to decide for your loved ones to save them. The state will ask you to step aside so that they can take control of the situation. We have all kinds of other issues that arise from the Baker Act, so I hope that helps to clarify some things.

We give a free consultation. We are happy to talk to you about the Baker Act, much more active guardianship. Just reach out to us. Thanks once again for tuning in. Take care. Bye!

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