The Baker Act Process
If a person is Baker Acted, they are taken to a mental health hospital that is also a Baker Act-receiving facility. At the receiving facility, the individual must be psychologically examined within 72 hours .
If the person is deemed to be dangerous by two different mental health professionals, they will be admitted to a mental health facility . Less commonly, outpatient mental health treatment may be recommended for people with mental illness who do not need 24/7 care.
If the person is not found to have any mental health issues, or they have a non-dangerous mental health issue, they will be released within the 72-hour period.
Challenge A Wrongful Baker Act
Baker Act Attorneys
When a loved one is in trouble, you want to do whatever you can to help them. If they are contending with mental illness, you may help them find a therapist or a facility where they can go and get treatment as well as medication to function in their everyday life. If they are addicted to drugs and alcohol, this could mean staging an intervention and finding a rehabilitation facility where they could fully recover.
But when they are incapable of seeking out treatment, they refuse to take care of themself, and they pose a threat to themself or others, you may not know where to turn. What do you do if your loved one says they are planning to overdose on drugs or assault someone? What do you do if they attempt to hurt you?
You could always call up the cops or a mental health professional to see what they can do. They may just invoke the Baker Act and take your loved one to a facility against their will for evaluation. There, your loved one might get the treatment they need to heal and stop posing a threat.
What Is The Baker Act?
For instance, an individual may claim that they are going to kill themselves and write a suicide note to show to their friends and family. They may also threaten to run someone over with their car, or otherwise attempt to hurt or kill another individual because they are not mentally well.
Who Determines if an Individual Can Be Involuntarily Taken to a Facility?
Things To Know About The Florida Baker Act
The Florida Mental Health Act, commonly known as the Florida Baker Act, is available to families and others who believe their loved one is suffering from serious mental health disorders. When someone refuses the mental health treatment they need, it may be difficult to watch. Many times, a person without the ability to make rational decisions needs support to make that possible. Prior to the Baker Act of 1971, this was hard to do.
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A Court Hearing Is Scheduled
An involuntary placement hearing must be scheduled within five days. A court-appointed public defender is assigned to the individual unless they have other representation. Testimony and evidence are provided to determine if the person is competent to consent to treatment. If not, then a guardian advocate is appointed to the individual. If they are found incompetent, an order remanding the individual to a treatment center for up to six months is possible.
What Is The Criteria For The Baker Act
The act only applies when certain criteria are met to prevent the law from being abused. For the Baker Act to be invoked, the person has to meet all three criteria:
- There is strong evidence that the individual is mentally ill.
- The person is refusing treatment due to their mental illness, or their mental illness as rendered them unable to determine if they need treatment or not.
- If the individual does not receive treatment, they are likely to suffer from neglect or harm themselves or others.
What is the process to invoke the Baker Act?
The Baker Act process starts in one of three ways:
The process depends on the urgency of the situation. If someone is actively threatening to harm themselves or someone else, you should call the police. They can safely detain the individual and take them to be evaluated by a mental health professional under the Baker Act.
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Can A Person Refuse Treatment
If anyone you know has been Baker Acted , one of the most frequently asked questions is whether the patient has the right to refuse psychiatric medication. This is a common question by parents who are unsure about giving their young children psychiatric medicines. The solution to this issue is more complicated than it appears on the surface.
The Constitution protects an individuals right to refuse medication and other forms of medical care, including parents right to refuse to medicate their children. The right is derived from the concept of substantive due process and constitutional protections for adults privacy. The right of a parent or legal guardian to refuse medication for their children is founded on the most fundamental safeguards offered to parents about care and child-raising decisions for their children. The exception is if the sick person poses a danger to himself or others.
Whats The Difference Between The Baker Act And The Marchman Act
The Baker Act and are both used to help Florida citizens who might be of harm to themselves or others but used in two different ways. The Baker Act is meant solely for those struggling with mental health issues while the Marchman Act was created specifically as an answer to substance abuse problems.
When reported by law enforcement, medical professionals, or family members, both acts mean that a person can be held up to seventy-two hours for an involuntary assessment for substance abuse or mental health disorders.
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How Long Does A Baker Act Stay On Your Record
Theres currently no way to have a Baker Act removed from your record if the police were involved. However, the report may only mention that there was an incident with the police without additional details, especially if the matter never makes it to trial. Baker Acts are also not listed on the FBIs National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
Shifting From Voluntary To Involuntary Status
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Plan To Fix Floridas Baker Act Would Make It More Powerful Raising Alarms
- Jack EvansTimes staff
The Baker Act is one of Floridas most powerful laws and, critics say, one of its most dysfunctional.
The 50-year-old law allows someone to be held for mental health evaluation and potentially committed to a treatment facility, whether they agree to it or not.
But the number of those held involuntarily keeps accelerating, and the fastest-growing age group forced to undergo exams are children.
Now a bipartisan group of legislators and reformers say theyve found a way to fix it:
They want to expand the Baker Act and make it even more powerful.
Reform bills are now working their way through the Legislature.
Expanding the criteria for when the law can be invoked, reformers say, will allow those suffering from serious mental illnesses to be sent directly to treatment centers or hospitals.
They say the existing law allows too many of those people to end up in jails or prisons, where housing them costs taxpayer money funds that could instead be used to improve mental health services.
The biggest problem with America is that weve applied a criminal justice model to an illness, said Miami-Dade County Judge Steve Leifman, a leading advocate for decriminalizing mental illness. No one should be surprised it has failed as miserably as it has.
is not inconsequential, she said. It is deeply traumatizing, it is deeply hurtful and we need to figure out ways to limit it.
Receiving Ongoing Voluntary Mental Care
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In Other States How Is The Baker Act Referred To
Floridas mental health statute is. known as theBaker Act . Like such laws in most states,Floridas statute requires evidence of a mental illness and harm toself or to others, or of neglect in order to initiate a short-terminvoluntary Baker Act ex-amination.
How long does a baker act stay on your record is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to this question is not easy to find, but it will be found in the Baker Act. Reference: how long does a baker act stay on your record.
How To Get A Client Released
The facility isnt the only entity with the ability to get the court system involved. A patient or the patients guardian advocate can file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus requesting a hearing regarding release from involuntary confinement. Forms for this are usually made available to patients at the facility. Otherwise, an attorney can prepare and file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus as needed.
Before filing a petition, legal counsel may be able to get involved during the 72-hour window and obtain a patients release prior to the facility petitioning the court system for permission to extend confinement. As stated earlier, the prevailing test is usually whether the person being held is a danger to himself/herself or to others.
In our experience, the mere presence of an attorney along with family members lets the facility know that there is a support system in place that will address the needs of the patient. This means that a familys plans to address the facilitys concerns through voluntary treatment or the active participation of family can be very effective.
The Baker Act specifically states that confinement is not appropriate when any apparent harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends . . . . Section 394.463, Florida Statutes. Your clients should know that hiring an attorney is one of the best ways to indicate to the facility that they are serious about getting released.
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Can You Sue If You Have Been Committed Under The Baker Act
The state, whether that is referring to the state of Florida or the general concept of government, deals with a recurring dilemma: keeping the citizens safe and secure while also ensuring their liberties and freedoms are reasonably protected. A notable example that illustrates the state of Floridas struggle with this question is the Baker Act, which is used to get prompt medical care for those who are exhibiting troubling mental health symptoms.
What is the Baker Act, and What is it Used For?
Most people without a legal background who have heard of the Baker Act associate the law with the involuntary confinement of people whose mental health conditions could lead to immediate harm to themselves and/or others. People who have been committed under the Baker Act may be held, without their consent, in a medical or mental health facility for a maximum of 72 hours.
An individual can be involuntarily committed through one of the following three methods:
- Law enforcement can take people who appear to meet the Baker Act criteria into custody and start the process of involuntary confinement
- A court can issue an ex-parte order requiring an individual to be involuntarily confined
- A physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, counselor, therapist, or clinical social worker has, sometime in the previous 48 hours, evaluated someone who appeared to meet the criteria for involuntary confinement
What is the Criteria For Involuntary Confinement?
What Are Your Legal Options?
Are You Required To Inform Your Employer
It can be tricky to decide what to do after youve been Baker Acted because you may require additional treatment to recover, which may include a recovery program. Youre not legally obligated to inform your employer when youve been Baker Acted, and your employer is also not legally allowed to fire you for having a mental illness. What puts you most at risk of losing your job is if you dont seek the treatment you need before you do something on the job that your employer could fire you for.
Should you decide to have yourself admitted for inpatient treatment, there are several laws that allow you to get the leave you need, medical coverage for treatment and any additional accommodations that may help your reintegration into your job.
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The Americans With Disabilities Act
Mental health conditions qualify under the Americans With Disabilities Act as a condition where you can seek reasonable accommodation to be able to perform your job better. In this instance, that accommodation may be time off work to seek the treatment you need. Your employer cant fire you for disclosing that you have a mental health condition and may be able to give you the accommodations youre requesting through another important law.
What Does The Baker Action Not Cover
The Baker Act cannot be used in all circumstances. In essence, any case that falls outside of the three criteria is beyond the purview of this specific law. For example, developmental disabilities are not considered a mental illness as a result, someone cannot be Baker Acted for having one and refusing treatment.
Intoxication and substance abuse impairment alone are also not covered under the Baker Act. Instead, those who are a threat to themselves or others because of their addiction are subject to Floridas Marchman Act. The Marchman act applies the same concept as the Baker Act where families can petition the court to force their loved one into addiction treatment.
While the Baker Act is unique to Florida, most other states have their own laws surrounding court-ordered treatment. One example is Caseys Law in Kentucky and Ohio.
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Can You Be Fired For Being Baker Acted
How does a Baker Act affect employment? You may have heard the term Baker Act before but not understand what it means. A good example is if you have a mental health condition that causes episodes of psychosis and you find yourself detained against your will for a mental health evaluation.
Having gone through the episode, you may be worried about what happened if you dont remember the details and how this will impact your relationships with your friends, family, and employer. Its perfectly reasonable to be concerned about what comes next, and our counselors can provide the guidance you need to recover while retaining your employment. The last thing you need is to endure additional problems because of something that might not have been under your control.
If youre aware of your legal rights, you can pick up the pieces with minimal negative impact to your career.
What Happens After The Baker Act Is Invoked
Once the act is invoked, the individual is taken to a mental health facility for examination. Law enforcement will pick them up and transport them to the nearest Baker Act receiving facility. Adults can be held at the facility for a maximum of 72 hours unless a ruling is made to extend this period. Minors are only allowed to be held for 12 hours. All patients held more than 12 hours must be examined by a mental health professional within 24 hours of being admitted. Treatment, if needed, will be rendered based on this assessment.
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