Monday, July 20, 2009


A Family Guide to the Florida Marchman Act

by Contributor: Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq.
www.linkedin.com/in/raymondgferreroiii/
CEO / Ironlight Consortium, LLC.
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Let me first introduce myself. I am Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq. I am I am an educator, family advocate, and former partner with the Florida based law firm: Addiction Recovery Legal Services, LLC. During that time, I also served as the Executive Director of Heath Affairs for Nova Southeastern University’s Health Professions Division, Chair of NSU's Institute for Behavioral Health and Wellness, as well as a former Gubernatorial Appointee to Florida's Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Committee.

It is my great pleasure to be writing this brief overview of the Florida Marchman Act for your family. Let me begin by saying that this is an often misunderstood law, which is often (unfortunately) mishandled by well meaning family members or treatment providers, as they attempt to advocate within the legal system without license to do so, or ability. For over a decade, I have been actively involved in Florida’s mental health community and Marchman Act Courts.  I have witnessed the Florida Marchman Act develop from what was once a little known (and, little understood) law into what is now recognized throughout Florida and nationally as one of a family’s most powerful intervention tools to assist someone in substance use crisis within any family unit. Professionally, I take great pride in my work, and find great satisfaction counseling / advising families about how the Florida Marchman Act is able to assist them to address the trauma associated with having to save a loved one in crisis. Personally, I take even greater pleasure when I witness the often surprised reaction a family experiences when they realize that this law actually empowers them to deal with a problem once considered hopeless - head on and without unnecessary delay.

The Florida Marchman Act, when properly litigated by an experienced attorney with a full understanding of the nuances and powers of this law, becomes a legal process that will: (1) establish consequences and hold an impaired individual legally accountable for their continued substance abuse; and (2) empower families with a legal mechanism to interrupt the stranglehold the individuals addiction has on the people around them; and (3) become an invaluable clinical support tool for the recovery team. 

Let’s begin our overview of the Florida Marchman Act…

What is the Florida Marchman Act?

Most simply put, the Florida Marchman Act is an “involuntary commitment statute”. However, I believe it should more aptly be called a "crisis intervention statute." Specifically, the Florida Marchman Act is a legal process and procedure that allows the family OR friends (at least three) of someone in crisis to confidentially petition a civil court judge to help them address their loved one's substance use crisis. So, how does the court help? If the evidence exists, a civil court judge can order the individual in crisis to mandatory drug and/or alcohol “assessment & stabilization” (in layman's terms - a detox) and then into subsequent treatment (that the court will then overseen for up to (60) sixty days. An order that can be extended in 90 day increments with credible evidence demonstrating such a need. 

The key to a Florida Marchman Act "orders for assessment and treatment" are that the period of detox and the subsequent treatment become “involuntary”. Put another way, the impaired individual, or, Respondent, must comply with any and all treatment recommendations made by the licensed substance abuse professional, and/or licensed treatment provider - or, face legal consequences by the court for their non-compliance.  I refer to this as “compulsive care” or “leveraged care”. Accordingly, once the court order has been entered, the person in crisis must complete assessment, stabilization and/or treatment. The person in crisis no longer has a choice in the matter. In fact, even if the individual in crisis has an extensive medical history of relapse, repeatedly refusing voluntary detox and/or treatment, or, has a history of leaving detox and/or treatment against medical advice; once the Florida Marchman Act order is in place, the impaired individual will likely attempt to again refuse care and repeat prior behavior patterns. However, now, in order to do so, they must also deal with the consequences of their actions.

Under the Florida Marchman Act, if an individual refuses to comply with treatment once ordered, they subject themselves to contempt of court and possibly jail time for up to (6) six months (per the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure for civil contempt violations). This may seem harsh, but recognize foremost that the intention of the Florida Marchman Act statute is to provide treatment - not punishment.  The intent of the court is only to see that their order is followed - again, not punish. Accordingly, any person sentenced to jail under the Florida Marchman Act for contempt will always be given a "purge provision". A purge provision means that they can “purge” their jail sentence for contempt at any time by doing one simple thing: re-entering and re-engaging treatment. At all times the person in crisis holds the keys to the jail. This is why I call it leveraged care versus involuntary 
commitment. At no time is the individual allowed to be physically held or restrained - the choice is always their own as to how they wish to proceed.

What is the history of the Florida Marchman Act?

The Marchman Act was passed in 1993 by the Florida Legislature and is officially entitled the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services Act of Florida.  The Marchman Act was named after Hal S. Marchman, a pastor and lifelong advocate for the rights of alcoholics and drug addicts throughout Florida.  Ironically, Hal S. Marchman held worldwide recognition, not for his service to addicts, but as the Chaplain of the Daytona International Speedway, who gave the invocation at the beginning of every race for 42 years before retiring at the age of 85.  Hal S. Marchman passed in October of 2009 in Daytona, Florida.

Why did Florida enact the Florida Marchman Act?

In many ways, Florida is an extremely progressive state in its recognition of the growing trend of substance use across the nation and the need of the state and community to play a role in addressing the consequences that addiction has upon society as a whole.  Especially, when an individual in crisis reaches the progressive stage of addiction whereby their substance use escalates to the point that it poses a danger not only to themselves, but also the public at large. Science has conclusively demonstrated that chronic substance use and abuse of substances can impaired an individual to such a degree that they lose the ability to make rational decisions regarding their own care. More so, that the person in crisis actually loses the ability to even appreciate their own need for care despite the devastatingly negative consequences associated with the substance use. Left unchecked this will progress along the typical stages of clinical addiction toward death. The Florida legislature recognized that an avenue for intervention (without criminal penalty) was necessary for the protection of society and the impaired individual. Thus, the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services Act of Florida was adopted and entered into law in 1993.

Specifically, The Florida Marchman Act – F.S. §397.305 recognize(s):

“Substance abuse is a major health problem and leads to such profoundly disturbing consequences as serious impairment, chronic addiction, criminal behavior, vehicular casualties, spiraling health care costs, AIDS, and business losses, and profoundly affects the learning ability of children within our schools and educational systems. Substance abuse impairment is a disease which affects the whole family and the whole society and requires specialized prevention, intervention, and treatment services that support and strengthen the family unit.”

When should you actually consider using the Florida Marchman Act?

That is actually a simple decision. The friends or family of an individual in crisis should consider pursuing Florida Marchman Act intervention, if the individual in crisis simply refuses  any offer of assistance despite the clear substance use concern. This includes individuals who continuously promise to get help but never take any steps to do so. Remember, addiction is well established as a progressive disease. Addiction is disease that simply does not get better on its own over time, if left untreated. In fact, the opposite is true. Addiction is a chronic medical condition that is progressive in nature (having well-defined stages) that can only be first treated by abstinence. Without intervention and immediate abstinence, addiction is not only a chronic disease; addiction is a fatal disease. Those are the facts. Accordingly, the sooner one intervenes in the progression of an individual’s chronic substance use the better.

Just to be clear, although I said above that the decision seek Marchman Act assistance is a simple one, please do not get the impression that I fail to recognize the difficult decision a family faces, when deciding to seek court assistance for a loved one in crisis. It is a terrible thing to have to do in the grand scheme, but in most cases the only thing that can be done. There are also many factors that a family must consider. When counseling a family, I typically ask them to consider the following: (1) the behavior of the person in crisis, and their substance use will continue until some overriding, significant uniquely personal consequence interrupts their use cycle; (2) most often, the person in crisis does not get better alone, or without great (unnecessary) hardship without something being done to assist them; and (3) there are ultimately only two possible outcomes for an individual who progresses through the stages of chronic substance use and addiction: jail or the morgue. 

Is this a big decision? Yes, this is a big decision.  However, I cannot stress enough, Florida Marchman Act courts are truly nothing to be intimidated by or feared. The Florida Marchman Act courts exist to help families and individuals in crisis. Even in a scenario, where a family only has a mere suspicion that a person is substance abuse impaired (instances often experienced by the parents of juveniles or young adults), filing a Florida Marchman Act can be an incredibly effective tool to simply uncover what (if anything) is actually going on. Also, there is absolutely nothing harmful that will result from initiating this process for anyone involved - if, properly addressed by legal counsel. The person filing a Florida Marchman Act and the person on the receiving end of a Florida Marchman Act have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Remember: The Florida Marchman Act is a civil process, not criminal.  All hearings are held in closed courtrooms and the process is strictly confidential in nature.  Filing a Florida Marchman Act will never impose a criminal court ramification upon a person's legal record. The intent of the Florida Marchman Act is treatment, not punishment.  More so, because addiction is a medical condition, the Florida Marchman Act process as mentioned previously is strictly confidential. Any and all assessment and/or treatment records; including the Florida Marchman Act petitions, are protected by Federal HIPPA law (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).  Accordingly, being proactive versus reactive in these situations is incredibly helpful.  Don't simply wait and hope that things will somehow get better.

What are the criteria required to prove a Florida Marchman Act case?

Before I discuss the criteria of the Florida Marchman Act, let me first thank you for taking the time to read this brief overview. I hope that this information was helpful.  Everyone knows someone who may be in need of substance abuse services, so feel free to pass this information on to another.  This information can save families years of frustration and thousands of dollars in treatment costs.

In conclusion, I leave you with the following criteria established by the Florida Marchman Act statute that I review with every family I counsel.  More often than not, simply hearing the following criteria becomes their “Ah-ha” moment for recognizing that a loved one truly needs help and recognizing that The Florida Marchman Act is the next step they need to take:

"A court may grant a Petition for Involuntary Assessment, Stabilization and/or Treatment, if there is a reasonable belief that the individual is substance abuse impaired and the individual: 

(a)   has lost the power of self-control with respect to substance use;

and, either

(b)   has inflicted or is likely to inflict physical harm on him/herself or others unless admitted;

 or 
(c) the person's judgment is so impaired they are incapable ofappreciating the need for care and making a rational decisionregarding such care;

or

(d)   the person has refused to seek voluntary care.

Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq., A Family Guide to the Florida Marchman Act © 2008

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How do I file a Marchman Act Petition?

Call 1-877-35-ABUSE for a $75.00 detailed consultation by attorney Alan S. Levine, Esq. The above overview has been offered as a general overview of the Florida Marchman Act process. Litigating the Florida Marchman Act statute should be done by an attorney well versed and experienced in Florida Marchman Act law. As in any legal procedure, you should always seek the advice of an experience legal professional to ensure the best possible approach for success.



82 comments:

Anonymous said...

what if the person is in jail right now? Can you still file the marchment act or do you ask for court ordered rehab since he is already in the system?

Addiction Recovery Legal Services LLC said...

ARLS - Please call the office at 1-877-35-ABUSE for further free legal consultation.

Many factors come into play re: the filing of a Marchman Act, while someone is in custody. First, how long is the person going to be incarcerated? If the individual is going to be locked up for an extended period of time. It will be impossible for them to enter into a treatment other than what is offered in the jail/prison. If the person will be bailed out and the case resolved at a later date, it is my opinion that the Marchman Act (MMA) can run concurrent to the criminal case; and, can often prove favorable to the judge presiding over the criminal case should the respondent be willing stipulate to the MMA order itself (it proves the person is serious about court-monitored recovery).

However, some judges will not allow a MMA to run concurrent with a criminal matter, believing the criminal court is better suited to handle treatment - this depends on the location and specific judge involved in the MMA hearing.

So, to answer your question: I cannot answer your question without more information. ARLS will be more than willing to speak to you privately and at no cost.

Good luck - Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq.

Anonymous said...

I am a former law enforcement officer from another state. When we would assist medical/para- medical staff and found drug paraphernalia and/or illegal drugs we DID NOT arrest the individual as it would be counter to the intent of assisting a person in need. Having said that, what is the legal process in Florida when a person is in certain need of the Marchman Act's protection/assistance and is found to be in possesion of the aforementioned illegal materials by a law enforcement officer who was needed/required to contact and transport an individual who has been identified by those who swore out an Act Information/Complaint?

Anonymous said...

As the petitioner of a Marchman Act on my son who is now in treatment, what is the procedure to lift the Act should I decide to move my son to a different county or state for treatment in a different facility.

Chuck

Addiction Recovery Legal Services LLC said...

To Ex-Leo Post on 03/04/2010:

ARLS thanks you for your post. You asked:

"...[w]hat is the legal process in Florida when a person is in certain need of the Marchman Act's protection/assistance and is found to be in possession of [illegal materials] by a law enforcement officer who was needed/required to contact and transport an individual who has been identified by those who swore out an Act Information/Complaint?"

Here is what I am hearing in your scenario...a law enforcement officer in Florida is called to a scene (most likely - non-criminal) to provide protective custody services under the Florida Marchman Act for someone who is substance abuse impaired (most likely to the point where it has been determined that they are danger to self or others).

In short, under the FL Marchman Act, you may place that person into protective custody for transport to a medical/treatment facility (called a receiving facility) WITHOUT arrest, and, based upon your own determination of need (without a medical opinion).

However, I am hearing more....so, let's discuss your next point. In the process of the Law enforcement officer providing assistance, he/she discovers illegal drugs or paraphernalia on the person (or, in plain sight). Your question: What happens next, right?

The answer: clearly, under FL law this would REQUIRE some form of official report (and/or, subsequent arrest)for the person being in criminal possession of drugs. From my own experience, I have seen officers respond to an overdose and subsequently charge the person because drugs were in their possession. However, I SUSPECT some law enforcement officer may choose to look the other way depending on the quantity and type of drug / paraphernalia found in the persons possession (understanding that they have been called to provide assistance not consequence). Excellent question.

Addiction Recovery Legal Services LLC said...

To Chuck Post on Tuesday, March 23, 2010:

You asked:

"As the petitioner of a Marchman Act on my son who is now in treatment, what is the procedure to lift the Act should I decide to move my son to a different county or state for treatment in a different facility."

Answer: Understand, due to ethical considerations, I cannot give you specific legal advice due to the fact that I do not know the details of your sons case, you are not my client, and, I do not know if any conditions currently exist that a Judge may have imposed in your matter.

However, that being said, let me speak about a case I handled that was quite similar to your GENERAL scenario. In that matter, a "Treatment Petition" was filed by a Petitioner (a father) and granted by a Circuit Court Judge. An Order was put into place for the Respondent (his daughter) to complete 60 days of treatment. After about 30 days in the Petitioner wanted to take his daughter out of state to place her in another program. He asked me: What should I do? My advice to him was to simply take the girl to the other state for treatment and allow the 60 day period to lapse naturally without advising the court of anything. Clearly, the Petitioner had brought the case. There were no other court hearings scheduled following the 60 day Order being put into place. The only reason a court hearing would be necessary would be if his daughter violated the court Order by refusing to go to treatment. The girl would be attending another program (which, her father, the Petitioner, was happy with). So, my advice, let the Order lapse naturally and end following the passing of 60 days. Also, by doing this (keeping the Order in place), if the girl goes out of state and then changes her mind and refuses to comply with treatment, the Order still exists. This left the father with a legal remedy. He could ask the court to enforce treatment and the Order, as long as the child could be returned to the Jurisdiction where the Petition was filed.

NOTE: I did advise this father, however, to ask the current treatment facility to RECOMMEND in their ongoing assessment that they were aware of the father's intentions to go out of state...and, they agreed (or, did not object) to his decision to do so.

Excellent question.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is in jail in Fl. If she is bonded out on house arrest can we use the Marchman Act while she is on house arrest?

Addiction Recovery Legal Services LLC said...

The Marchman Act can be filed and run concurrent to any civil or criminal case. Pre-trial release and the court would have to be made aware of (and, agree to) any travel arrangements necessary for Marchman Act court dates or subsequent treatment arrangements.

Anonymous said...

If a person is on probation for drug charges, and then has the Marchmen Act filed against them, are they then in violation of that probation?

Addiction Recovery Legal Services LLC said...

ARLS Marchman Act Answer:

Understand, due to ethical considerations, I cannot give you specific legal advice due to the fact that I do not know the details of your case, and you are not my client. That being said, let me speak about a case I handled that was quite similar to your GENERAL scenario.

In a previous case, I filed a Marchman Act, while someone was on probation for drug charges. First, I determined that a MMA case could be filed and run concurrent to any civil or criminal case. Next, because the MMA hearing and petitions were and are considered are confidential, all allegations of drug use could not be accessed, or, used against the Respondent. However, in that matter I was very careful to ensure that any and all allegations of drug or alcohol use were described in the Petition in the context of leading up to the individuals arrest - and, therefore, the basis for and need of a current MMA order being entered by the court.

If the Respondent agrees to the MMA order being put into place without admitting to the allegations, a MMA order demonstrates to a criminal court the sincerity of an individual to get off drugs and complete probation successfully.

Warning: a layperson should speak with counsel, prior to filing a MMA Petition against someone on drug offender probation.

Anonymous said...

How long can someone be held under this act. i thought it was only 5 days....can the court order more time?

Addiction Recovery Legal Services LLC said...

People are often confused re: the duration of the Florida Marchman Act Order.

A person can be held 5 days for an Assessment and Stabilization.

A person can be held 60 days for Treatment.

An Extension (when warranted) can be issued for an additional 90 days following the 60 days.

For more detailed information, please call: 1-877-35-ABUSE

Anonymous said...

I know the court places the person in a state run facility, are the petitioners charged for the the person's care? Or is it covered by the state?

Anonymous said...

Can only a parent file a Marchman act against a person? Can an aunt file?

Anonymous said...

We were just readying marchment act papers for our 22 year old son who is also a convicted felon. However he got into an altercation with one of his friends another convicted felon and has now been arrested for 2nd degree aggravated battery. He is addicted to both opiates and xanax which he has abused for 2 to 4 years and will be going into severe withdrawal with out. Can I still marchment act him to let the court know his predicatment and get him in jail treatment as I do not believe him to be competent to stand trial in this upcoming case until he has a clear mind,which I think could take at least 60 days or more?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Please call the office 1-877-35-ABUSE

Anonymous said...

Statistically, what is the success rate of the Marchman Act?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

To date, the Florida Department of Children and Families does not keep statistical data on Marchman Act Cases or results (as is done with the Florida Baker Act). Historically, this is most likely due to the confidentiality issues that arise with obtaining a person's medical/evaluation records. Another factor is probably connected to the following issue: In order to determine success rates following the expiration of a MMA Court Order, would require that families and the person filed against be polled and basically answer a survey question asking, "Are you still in recovery and not using drugs and/or alcohol because of the MMA being filed?" Accordingly, success rates would be based solely upon the number of individuals who actually respond; thus, not a complete picture. In my own experience, I base success on the number of times I have to file a "Petition for Extension of Treatment" on an individual because they fail to engage the original 60 day Treatment Order. In my practice it is uncommon that extensions are filed. As a member of the Florida Marchman Act Workgroup, charged with redrafting the Florida MMA, we have requested that such data be collected by the Florida Department of Children and Families just as is doe with the Florida Baker Act. These statutory changes will be voted on in 2011 - hopefully.

Anonymous said...

Once a Marchman petition is taken out on an adult who is repsonsible for finding placement beyond stabilization and evaluation? How long does the state have to enforce placement?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Let me answer your question in two parts.

First, re: placement. It is very important to understand that the Marchman Act process consists of two parts: (1) Petitioning the Court to Order someone to have an assessment and stabilization (Detox); and, (following this assessment)(2) Petitioning the Court to Order someone into treatment.

That being said - once a a person is Ordered into care, they can go to either a private or public facility. In the case of placement into a private facility, the Petitioners are responsible to secure a detox and treatment location for the Respondent, since they are paying for it out of their own pockets. In the case of placement into a public facility, whereby the Petitioners are not paying for the care, the Respondent can be Ordered to go to a community facility. Typically, each court has certain facilities they utilize for indigent Respondents (those without money), and will simply direct the Respondent to appear at that the facility for intake assessment, detox and subsequent care. These facilities operate on a sliding scale basis in order to reduce the cost of care.

Second, I will attempt to answer your other question: "How long does the state have to enforce placement?"

As long as an "Order for Assessment, Stabilization and/or Treatment" is in place, it can be enforced. If a person is found to be in violation of the court order they can face court sanctions including civil contempt, whereby they are looking at jail time. However, it is NOT the responsibility of the State to enforce placement. I cannot stress this enough. Whomever files the petition (as a Petitioner)- has the responsibility of enforcing the order. The Court and State are not parties in this matter, only the Petitioner (the one bringing the Petition) and the Respondent (the person who is impaired).

I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

My 25 year old grandson went to a facility to marchman act himself and was told to go to the hospital until they had a room available which he did. The hospital admitted him under the marchman act. He was being treated for detox and three days later a friend brought some drugs into the hospital and gave them to my grandson and he was arrested for violation of probation. He had been heavily sedated by the hospital and we were told that he shouldn't have been allowed visitors while being treated under the marchman act. Now he is in jail awaiting a court hearing on the vop. Is there anything we can do?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Please contact our office at: 1-877-35-ABUSE

Anonymous said...

My daughter has been through several voluntary drug rehabs over past 5 years. She was clean so we moved her into our house to help raise her young baby. She just took of out of state without notice with the baby. We just found out she is now on Meth. we are seriously concerned for the babies well being if not life. What do we do. Signed desperate and scared

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Please contact our office at: 1-877-35-ABUSE

DM said...

This act represents an irrational attempt to coerce adult drug users into "treatment" by court order. The act allows family members, friends, physicians and law enforcement to file court orders mandating "treatment" for drug use. Since the law was passed, over 4,000 individuals have been coerced into detox and residential programs against their will. The act is written on the basis that heavy drug use strips a user of all will power and the ability to make rational decisions; after all, who in their right mind would want to self medicate? It is common for parents of fully developed adults (25 years or older) to believe they can 'save' their 'children' - in reality, these are no longer children, and are at the age where they make their own decisions, and part of adulthood is being held accountable for the possible consequence of these decisions. Contrary to popular belief, not all habitual & dependent drug users experience an inevitable downward spiral of addiction and death, many users, particularly those with steady cashflow and adequate narcotic supplies, manage to reach an optimal and functional regimen of use, and live perfectly happy and healthy lives; no different than adults who live each day with the aid of coffee. Regardless, there are also the unfortunate cases; those whose drug use has not jived well with their finances, careers, or family ideals (christian morals, etc) - Their high level of drug use has not been practical, and their hedonist drive coupled with lack of certain character traits has led them to knowingly self destruct. Some simply lack a sound sense of judgement, or the ability to delay gratification; while others (far too many currently) lack the common sense, intellect, or awareness to use narcotics safely - this is reflected by the epidemic number of 'accidental overdose' deaths via opioid intoxication. This is very frustrating, seeing as that most opioids, including heroin and morphine, are of minimal hazard to the body or brain when used properly. The primary risk being an acute risk (short tewrm/immediate) of excessive dosing leading to respiratory depression. This risk is completely avoidable with only simple measures which the mentally challenged should understand, however, the extreme level of sheer stupidity displayed by many users brings the illusion that there is something more to this - THERE IS NOT.

"Those willing to sacrifice liberty for temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" Benjamin Franklin

Anonymous said...

this state is a joke, my son marchment acted my son that was shooting up drugs paid the sheriffs department to pick him up and deliver him to a drug treatment center and they put him in jail for drug charges 4 days ago!!!

Kimberly said...

My cousin has been on and off of prescription drugs for the past 7 years. She has been in and out of court ordered rehab and she has spent time in jail for getting removed from rehab because she continued you use drugs. Her mom no longer wants to do anything to help her and her boyfriend who is about 5 years younger than her and is his first girlfriend thinks she can get off drugs by herself. He is very young and naive and doesn't understand the extent of her addiction because when he met her she was sober. I want to marchman act her, but I know she is completely against rehab. I definitely know I could do it, but I just wanted to know if you could marchman act someone anonymously?

Anonymous said...

how do i help my son who is going to be 21 in and out of jail due to drug related crimes and he does not live with me or has insurance. he is in denial of his problem and im scared he will overdose or get hurt dealing drugs, he is resisting help, what can i do to save his life?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

please call me at 1-877-35-ABUSE

Anonymous said...

How would I be able to find out who placed the Marchman Act in the first place?

Anonymous said...

How would I be able to find out who placed the Marchman Act in the first place?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

If a Marchman Act petition has been filed. The petitioners will be included in the petition. They must be a spouse, relative or any 3 individuals who have direct knowledge of the respondent's substance abuse.

Anonymous said...

My sister is on pain medication for neck and back problems. She has taken narcotic meds for years now and is clearly addicted to them. However, she inherited mental problems, as yet undiagnosed by a psychiatrist or therapist, just her medical doctor. Her family believes that the drug problem is a direct result of her mental condition. She was not mentally competent to handle her medical problems. She needs a two fold type treatment plan, mental health treatment and detox from the pain meds. She believes that her medical doctor can take care of and cure her of all her problems, medical and mental. She admits to small mental issues but not the drug issues and will not seek treatment for the mental issues. She says she does not believe in mental treatments and that her medical doctor and God will save her. She is Christian. She has one remaining child at home, the others have all fled her home because of her "moods". She drives this minor child while on these meds, or the child skips school because she can't get out of bed. She admits it is the depression and then will take meds so that she sleeps all the time and the child sometimes makes it to school and sometimes doesn't. The minor child is now showing similar mental issues. The local hospitals know her because she has gone there multiple times for pain problems but more often then not they treat her as a drug seeker and do not treat the real medical condition that brought her in to begin with. I know she does not go seeking drugs as she has a full supply at her home. She has a real medical condition requiring some sort of treatment, she has a drug problem secondary to the medical condition and the mental issues. Will petitioning for treatment under The Marchman Act get her treatment for both mental and substance abuse?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

There are many issues to discuss here - Please contact our office at 877-35-ABUSE

Anonymous said...

I'f a marchman act was issued in august and nothing was done does it expire in 30 days? And does new paperwork need to be reissued?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

You need to call the Clerk of the Courts where you filed to makes sure of the status. If it has expired, you may refile with legal standing and the grounds to do so.

Anonymous said...

something fast before she dies.She also has started having seizures.She needs mental help also...Thanks

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

I am unsure of your message. Please call our office at 1-877-35ABUSE. In cases of emergency call 911.

Anonymous said...

My daughter was ordered to rehab by court and failed to comply twice. She was let off twice. Finally, she was put in jail for one day for contempt and was brought to court the next day before the court could notify the petitioner. She lied to the court about her current address and the court gladly decided she was not their problem any longer and dropped the charge. It's tough to get the court to do what needs to be done if you're poor.

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

I am sorry that was your impression of the court. Obviously, in a perfect world, justice is blind. That said, a Marchman Act case is a legal matter where one needs an attorney to represent their rights and interests. The stakes are too high and the legal issues varied and many.

It is the reason our firm has developed "financial hardship" contracts, so that everyone can afford representation. We recognize exactly what you experienced does occur and have worked hard to remedy this issue for our clients.

Susan T said...

Can a child who is legal AIF, Power of Attorney file on behalf of her mother, she is 78 years old and still drives. She has numerous visits to the ER and a bad car accident. What would need to be done for that?

Anonymous said...

I am just a friend of someone that has no family and no job but is an alacholic and drug abuser. How do I go about using the marchman act since I will not be able to pay for this but he really does need help

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Please call our office at 1-877-35-ABUSE.

Anonymous said...

In regard to filing a Marchman Act,what if the person is homeless and you do not know where they are located at to serve them,then what can you do?Also,is it less legalalities if they marchman act themselves?Thank you for the extra insight into this tragic but only hopefull course of action to save the life of our loved one.

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Yes, it is a tragedy when a person becomes homeless and falls out of society due to their addiction. There are families that go to bed every night not knowing where a loved one may be living from one day to the next. I am sorry if you are dealing with this in your own life. Is the Marchman Act unavailable for you in such cases, however? Well, the answer to this is "Yes" and "No". Let me explain.
First and foremost, any person who is made the subject of a Marchman Act petition has the Constitutional right to due process under the law just as every other citizen of the United States. The right to be made aware of and be given the opportunity to confront accusers defend against any legal proceeding being brought against you is afforded to all. Even if that legal proceeding is literally being filed to save you from yourself. Accordingly, without a proper address where a person may be located and served with notice of all impending legal actions, or, a location to subsequently direct a law enforcement crisis team should the court order the person into treatment, the process simply cannot proceed by law.
However, this does not mean that the Marchman Act cannot be implemented at all. It will just take an extra effort. In cases of homelessness, or, inability to locate a person, the family must simply be prepared to take very proactive measures. I might suggest the use of a private investigator to help locate the individual. This does work. Once found, I would also suggest arranging for providing pre-paid lodging, where that person can be temporarily placed in a secure location while court orders are being procured and treatment beds arranged.
Cases such as this are not the norm in Marchman Act process, but they are also not unfamiliar. These issues can be addressed with thought, effort and a plan that focuses on one single objective - do whatever it takes to get that person into a treatment bed. Great question.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to put my sister for a while in this program but she is in the process of obtaining her residence or green card. will this process affect her in obtaining her legal status in this country?

Anonymous said...

What documentation is required to act Marchman?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Please call our office at 1-877-35-ABUSE.

Anonymous said...

Is there a program for the parents and/or family of substance abusers to better equip them in dealing with the abuser? My sister is going through a very hard time with her daughter and I know my sister needs help knowing how to coup with her daughters problems (it seems it is taking a horrible toll on my sister.

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Yes. Start here: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/home

Al-Anon is a mutual support group of peers who share their experience in applying the Al-Anon principles to problems related to the effects of a problem drinker in their lives. It is not group therapy and is not led by a counselor or therapist; This support network complements and supports professional treatment.

The 2009 Al-Anon membership survey shows that nine out of ten newcomers who first came to Al-Anon because of a loved one’s drug addiction later came to better understand the seriousness of that person’s alcohol problem only after attending Al-Anon for a period of time.

No advance notification or written referral is necessary to attend an Al-Anon. Anyone affected by someone else’s drinking is welcome to attend.

There are no dues or fees. Groups are self-supporting, and usually pass a basket around for a voluntary contribution to pay for rent or Al-Anon literature.

Anonymous said...

My 21 year old son was in an auto accident and ended up in the vicious downward spiral of oxycodone. The drugs were prescribed and taken legally but still were having a very negative effect on him. His mother and I eventually Marchman acted him, he was sent to detox and ordered to treatment. When he went to the wrong treatment center the judge held him in contempt for 3 months until a bed opened. While being transported to the facility he took off. Now his mother is getting visits from time to time by "officials" stating he is again in contempt and has to go in front of the judge. I, being the custodial parent of my son was the first to see the negative signs of his legal drug use and now and can honestly say he is off of the drugs and has been since he was put in jail. He wants to join the Navy and they will let him in but only if this contempt can be removed. I am quite sure if he goes in front of this judge he will lock him up and I know that's not the best thing for him now. What are our options?

Anonymous said...

i am currently being marchamn acted but im staying sober and working a 12 step program, my parents dont believe im doing well so they filed another marchamn act once the previous 60 days was up. what do i do to prove to them im staying sober, have a sponser, and working the steps? do i still go to inpatient?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

If true, congratulations. Simply, go to court and demonstrate what you just wrote to the judge.

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Please call 1-877-35-ABUSE. Request to speak with an attorney.

Anonymous said...

A Marchman Act was filed for my niece. She was put in a facility for 5 days for evaluation then released. There was another hearing and the recommendation was involuntary treatment for 60 days. She was not present at that hearing. She was picked up by the police and delivered to a rehab but released the next day because she refused treatment. Now she has 3 days to report to the rehab or she will be picked up by the police again. Why was she released if treatment was court ordered? Not sure I understand how the Marchman Act works.

Anonymous said...

If the Court or State cannot enforce the order then what is the purpose of the Marchman Act?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Please re-read my prior post. You misunderstand. The PETITIONER is the one with the responsibility to enforce the court order. Thus, if the addict is not complying with treatment, the Petitioner has the responsibility of bringing this to the attention of the court, so that the court can sanction the addict for violating the court order. If the Petitioner fails to do so, they waive their right to do so. I only meant to say that it is not the court's responsibility to litigate the Petitioner's case. It is the Petitioner's case and thus their duty to make sure the addict complies with the court order by filing the appropriate motions to ensure they face the consequences for failing to do so.

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Please call our office as your question needs a more specific and in-depth answer, than a mere blog post. 1-877-35-ABUSE.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 26 years old and the mother of two minor girls. She is addicted to xanax which she claims she needs for anxiety issues she suffers from. She takes them as if they were candy. She was previously on crack and miraculously managed to stop using it. However, in the past couple of days I have become aware that she is smoking marijuana laced with cocaine and still taking the xanax as well. I have recently become unemployed and do not have money to seek legal representation or pay for rehab services. What are my options?

Marchman Act Attorneys said...

Call our office for a free consult. I will tell you every option available and there are many. 1-877-35-ABUSE

Carolyn said...

Can I Marchman act my brother and his son who also is my nephew as they are both addicted to crack coccaine? ages 46 nd 25, father and son. My brother is a trucker and his license is Georgia issued but he gets mail at my florida address. Currently his home is his rig.

Marchman Act Attorney said...

Yes. As long as the person or persons are located in FL and can be served with notice of hearing. Both father and son.

Anonymous said...

On march 23rd I was marchman acted by my parents I have a history of drug abuse and have been marchman acted before went into a detox and a program ect ect I get a script for suboxone when I went in this time I tested clean for opiotes which is my doc and came out positive forvthe soboxones and xanex which I am preacribed by my dr and do not abuse. The detox ordered me to out patient this time and I failed one drug test there but am currently clean. They are now reccomending to the courts for me to go back.into rehab. if I am testing totally clean for everything are they able to do this still and hold me? Thank u, signed, g.a

Marchman Act Attorney said...

Yes. Drug testing is only one small part of your total ongoing assessment for treatment. The fact that you: (1) failed a drug test while under court order and (2) are someone in "recovery" for addiction, who continues to take narcotic medication (regardless, if prescribed by a Dr. or not) will most likely be of far greater significance to a fact finder. Anyone can refrain from drugs long enough to test clean.

Anonymous said...

Wow that was a pretty rude response anyone can refrain from drugs long enough to past a test. I cant stand you people who are not addicts and have not personally expierenced this for yourself. U are so wrong not anyone can refrain.from using drugs long enough to pass a drug test or I wouldnt be in this sitiation and for you to say that you fucking idiot as if you are assuming thats what my intensions are you really have NO knowledge at all besides maybe some from the books you studied from. i have remained clean since.i failed the test and have been attending n/a meetings everyday. Which has.nothing to do with my court order for outpatient please get a gun and shoot yourself u asshole! And NO they werent able to hold me as this all took place this morning. Have a wonderful day

Marchman Act Attorney said...

I am not sure how you thought that was a rude response? You asked: "if I am testing totally clean for everything are they able to do this still and hold me?" I answered: "Yes" and then told you how the court would look at the situation based on the facts that you supplied. I am sorry you did not like the answer.

At your next NA meeting, you might want to consider bring up the following topics in group: "impulse control" and "rational vs. irrational" behavioral responses. It is not uncommon for those in early recovery to personalize many issues and perceived slights against you where none exist. That is why AA/NA will often tell those in early recovery to use the following mental mantra as a filter before responding to any given situation. It acts as a safety device for illogical behavior: "first thought wrong".

I wish you the best.

Anonymous said...

Can the Marchman Act petition while the person is currently in a voluntary inpatient status at a mental health facility.

Anonymous said...

How is the Marchman Act funded? Are the patients billed?
Interested and highly motivated to bring this to my state.

Marchman Act Attorney said...

please call 1-877-35-ABUSE to discuss

Anonymous said...

I have been under a Marchman Act for 3yrs. I have done out patient and in patient. I had to do aftercare well missed a cpl d test and got discharged. They ordered me to go back in patient. I have been clean since July 21, 2010. Missing the test was just an honest mistake, due to transportaton. i have no failed drug test and havent for a year now. My petioner wants to drop and obvously he would know best my status on recovery. The courts are saying this is still up to the judge. This whole thing has helped me tremendously, but now this is beginning to be alot of grief not only with me but my family and kids. Now if this is a civil matter why wld it still be up to the judges descretion?

Marchman Act Attorney said...

please call 1-877-35-ABUSE to discuss

Anonymous said...

If a person is abusing alcohol and the Marchman Act is used to get short term help what options are available to the person for help if they are not employed and have no source if income? Also, what if I live out of state and the person lives in FL?

Thanks.

Marchman Act Attorney said...

Q1:

If a person petitions against someone who is "not employed and have no source if income", or, "indigent", typically, services for detox and/or treatment will be at a facility that is supported by state, county, community, grant, donation or other funding source. And, every "Marchman Act Court" will "typically" have a designated indigent facilities that they utilize. These facilities operate on a sliding scale basis in order to reduce the cost of care, or, simply provide free services for people who qualify. Bottom line: a person should not be denied services due to financial inability to pay for services.

Q2:

You do not need to be a resident of FL to file a MMA, or, a resident of FL to be filed against under the MMA (only located in FL). An out-of-state petitioner is required to be present in FL on the day of the court hearing.

Treasur04 said...

"Curious"
If the court orders the initial "Detox" at a facility of their choice, (county funded), is it then possible to have the court assign the person to 60 days treatment at a facility of your choice that you've already made arrangements with ?

shayla said...

Once a Marchman act petition is filed and judge approved, what will happen if the respondent is not found, or is hiding at one of the address listed on the petiton and refuses to come to the door.

Also on a separate subject, i was told something (when i filed the MMA petition) about a sealed envelope that should remain sealed and brought in person to the courthouse, what was this in reference to? thankyou for any help.

Anonymous said...

My brother in law was picked up and taken away, we suspect that his wife filed a petition under the Marchman Act. we spoke to him just before and learnt that he never received the documents to attend court. His daughter collected same and hid them. How can we find out his whereabouts and look into his case since we suspect that his wife has taken control of his funds and business. The relationship has mostly been bad and he was probably set up.

Anonymous said...

A close relative was taken into custody for assessment. He did not personally receive the notice to attend court . He suggested that another family member may have collected it and hid it (is that possible).The petioner is his spouse and the relationship has been problematic on both sides.How can other family intervene in what seems to be a conspiracy to gain control of his business and funds. there is no contact with him except through the petioner

susie henderson said...

Once the respondent has been Marchman acted and is in the 5 day detox facility (ACTS), is there any way for the petitioner to have them moved directly to a rehab facility such as DACCO straight from detox? especially if they are using intraveneous drugs and may leave the area/state if returned home for the period between detox and court. Thankyou in advance for any information.

Harry said...

My friend was "Marchman Acted" by her mother. Ay the first court hearing they asked if she would voluntarily go to treatment and she said "yes".

Since then she's pretty much changed her mind and now doesn't want to go.

My question is whether or not they will issue a warrant for her arrest or does she have to be re-subpoenaed to be assessed for involuntary detox?

Marchman Act Attorney said...

Please Contact 1-877-35-ABUSE to discuss. The answer requires a more detailed answer than can be provided in this forum. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

If a treatment facility transfers a court ordered respondent from their facility to another facility, do they have to notify the petitioner? It appears they would according to statute? Also is it normal for a facility to release someone under the Marchman act court ordered involuntary treatment after only a few days? Respondent was in detox for 5-10 days and transferred to facility discussed in open court. However that facility somehow either transferred or something with respondent (facility hiding truth behind hippa) to a facility that I am not even sure is aware the respondent was ordered under the Marchman Act. No respondent has left and is at home supposedly with release papers from the secondary facility that respondent was at for no more than 5 days.???

Anonymous said...

Will the Marchman Act show on public record? My sister is trying to get custody of her child and I don't want to keep that from happening.