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Florida's Marchman Act Lawyer

At Thoele | Drach, we understand the complex legal landscape surrounding addiction and mental illness. We are committed to representing individuals and families affected by these issues and ensuring their rights are protected under the Stewart-Marchman Act. Our experienced team of lawyers specializes in navigating the legal challenges that arise in addiction and mental health cases, and we are dedicated to securing the best possible outcomes for our clients.

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    Thoele Drach, Jacksonville, Florida

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    Why You Should Choose Our Marchman Act Lawyer Team

    Many Marchman Act Law firms are out there, and here's why we're your best choice.

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    NEED HELP FILING A MARCHMAN PETITION?

    It is not easy to see a loved one suffering from substance abuse. Before a court orders treatment there is a daunting process that must be completed that is nearly impossible for a layman to do. It’s easy to make a technical mistake on the Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization that the respondent’s attorney can use to have it dismissed. If that happens, the judge will dismiss the petition, and you must start over. It’s best to hire Thoele|Drach to prepare the petition and represent you at the hearing.

    The respondent has a powerful advantage at the hearing. They will have an attorney appointed for them by the court free of charge. You will also be responsible for any financial arrangements for the drug rehab treatment should the judge order it. As the petitioner, the entire burden of proof is yours. The respondent doesn’t have to prove they don’t have a drug problem. You have to prove and convince the judge that they do. Before going ahead with the petition on your own, stop and think about your relationship with this person, and understand that such an action could permanently damage it. No one wants to be forced into anything.

    If the judge orders assessment/stabilization, the respondent will undergo an evaluation that will serve as the basis for the next required petition, the Petition for Involuntary Treatment. Now you have the burden of proving that the respondent requires court-ordered substance abuse treatment. Navigating the petitioning of the court, and proving your case is what we specialize in. We understand that your loved one’s life depends on our success. That is why we always assist our clients from start to finish.

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    Have you or someone you know need help with Marchman Act Law?

    Our Attorneys, Amanda Thoele & Justin Drach, are ready to help. We understand the complex legal landscape surrounding addiction and mental illness. We are committed to representing individuals and families affected by these issues and ensuring their rights are protected under the Stewart-Marchman Act.

    Call us now if you or a loved one need help filing a petition for the Marchman Act Law or have addiction problems.

    What is the Marchman Act?

    The Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993, more commonly referred to as the Marchman Act, provides emergency assistance and temporary detention for individuals requiring substance abuse evaluation and treatment in Florida. When correctly applied to a well-balanced, long-term plan, the Marchman Act can help an individual reach a healthy substance-free life by implementing a court-ordered framework to help support their recovery.

    Marchman Criteria

    The criteria for initiating the Marchman Act in Florida include the following:

    1. Lack of control: The individual must be unable to control their substance abuse and recognize the need for treatment.
    2. Danger to self or others: The person’s substance abuse impairment must present a danger to themselves or others. This can include situations where the individual’s actions threaten their safety or the safety of others around them.

    It’s important to note that these criteria must be supported by evidence, such as personal observations, witness statements, medical records, or law enforcement reports, to initiate the Marchman Act process. The court ultimately decides to initiate the process, which evaluates the evidence and determines whether the criteria are met.

    A voluntary admission occurs when an individual willingly seeks treatment for substance abuse by applying to a service provider for admission. 

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    On the other hand, an involuntary admission arises when there is a reasonable belief that the person is impaired by substance abuse and, as a result, has lost the ability to exercise self-control over their substance use. This impairment may manifest in the individual inflicting, attempting, or threatening physical harm to themselves or others.

    Alternatively, it may be evident when their judgment has been so significantly impaired due to substance abuse that they cannot recognize the necessity for substance abuse treatment.

    The Marchman Act includes additional criteria for both voluntary and involuntary admission. In the case of minors, they may seek voluntary admission for substance abuse services even without parental or guardian consent.

    Additionally, if a minor or adult meets the admission criteria and is encountered by a law enforcement officer in a public place, the officer has the authority to take the person into protective custody.

    This provision ensures that individuals who meet the criteria for admission receive the appropriate care and support, even when consent may not be readily available or public safety is a concern.

    A person may be detained for involuntary assessment and stabilization for a period not to exceed 5 days.

    Your Rights Under the Marchman Act

    While the Marchman Act allows for involuntary assessment and treatment, individuals still retain certain rights. These rights include the right to legal representation, the right to present evidence, the right to cross-examine witnesses, and the right to appeal court decisions.

    The law aims to balance the need for intervention with protecting individual rights throughout the process.

    Under the Marchman Act in Florida, individuals have the following rights:

    Notice: Individuals must be given notice of the court proceedings related to their involuntary assessment and potential treatment.

    Legal Representation: Individuals have the right to be represented by an attorney during the Marchman Act process.

    Presenting Evidence: Individuals can present evidence and witnesses to support their case during court hearings.

    Right to be Heard: Individuals can express their views, concerns, and preferences regarding the proposed assessment or treatment.

    Least Restrictive Treatment: The Act prioritizes using the least restrictive treatment measures necessary for stabilization and recovery.

    Right to Review: Individuals can request a review of their involuntary assessment or treatment within a specified timeframe.

    Remember that these rights may vary depending on the jurisdiction and applicable laws.

    The information provided above pertains specifically to the rights granted under the Marchman Act in Florida. The information provided pertains specifically to the rights granted under the Marchman Act in Florida. We will gladly assist you if you require information about the Marchman Act.

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    Thoele Drach, Jacksonville, Florida

    Amanda Thoele

    Marchman Act Attorney

    Marchman Act Lawyers

    Thoele Drach

    Since 2015 we’ve been here to serve our clients with the expertise, knowledge, and understanding that everyone deserves.

    Our team can assist with all legal issues and have a large breadth of experience, both legal and personal.

    Thoele Drach, Jacksonville, Florida

    Justin Drach

    Marchman Act Attorney

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    Frequently Asked Questions for a Marchman Act Lawyer

    The act is meant to provide a way for concerned loved ones to get help for someone who desperately needs, but won’t accept, substance abuse treatment. Criteria for an appropriate referral include:

    The individual cannot control or stop his or her drug/alcohol use AND is either:

    • Unable to make rational decisions regarding treatment OR
    • Has inflicted or attempted to inflict self-harm or harm to others
    • It should be noted that a judge may find that an individual’s refusal to seek treatment may not constitute an inability to make a rational decision regarding such treatment.

    A person may be detained for involuntary assessment and stabilization for a period not to exceed five days.

    A parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a minor may initiate petitions. However, it is their responsibility to find appropriate treatment, check availability and make necessary payment arrangements with the treatment provider (the same is valid for adults, but the handbook makes specific reference to this about minors).

    Upon assessment revealing the need for treatment, the judge can order up to 90 days of treatment. It is possible to renew the treatment order if approaching 90 days of treatment, it is apparent that more treatment will be necessary.

    There is a separate process for law enforcement or primary care physicians to order short-term protective custody or emergency hospital admissions. When a friend or family member initiates the Marchman Act process, they start by filing a petition. These people are eligible to petition the court in the interests of helping another adult:

    • Their spouse or life partner
    • A relative or guardian
    • A person with a valid power of attorney
    • An unrelated and responsible adult who is aware of the substance use disorder

    The Marchman Act allows for filing a petition requesting involuntary assessment and stabilization of an individual believed to be substance abuse impaired. The court reviews the petition and, if it determines there is cause to proceed, may order an assessment. Based on the assessment, a petition for involuntary treatment can be filed and the court can order the individual to undergo treatment if it deems necessary.

    While the Marchman Act allows for involuntary assessment and treatment, individuals still retain certain rights. These rights include the right to legal representation, the right to present evidence, the right to cross-examine witnesses, and the right to appeal court decisions. The law balances the need for intervention with protecting individual rights throughout the process.

    During the assessment process, the individual undergoes an evaluation conducted by qualified professionals to determine the presence and extent of substance abuse impairment. If stabilization is necessary to prevent harm to the individual or others, they may be temporarily placed in a designated facility for the required period.

    The Marchman Act is exclusively for Chemical Dependency/Substance Abuse. It is used for involuntary assessment and treatment with initial assessment orders for up to 5 days and successive treatment orders of up to 90 days.

    The Baker Act is exclusively for mental illness. It is used to evaluate a person in a psychiatric facility for up to 72 hours due to mental illness when someone appears to be a danger to themselves or others. Under the Baker Act, a person that meets the criteria for involuntary treatment can be committed and held in excess of the 72 hour examination period.

    There are several reasons a petition can be denied. The respondent doesn’t meet the criteria, the petitioner fails to prove the case, a technicality, the respondent’s behaviors are beyond the safe management of the provider, treatment services are not available, or for lack of financial means to pay the cost of care.

    Yes, a person has the right to refuse treatment under the Marchman Act. However, if a court determines that the person meets the criteria for involuntary treatment and is a danger to themselves or others, they may be ordered to undergo treatment even against their will. In such cases, the person may still have the opportunity to challenge the need for treatment and present their case in court.

    Do NOT try and file a Marchman Act petition on your own

    You need an experienced Marchman Act attorney to give your loved ones the best chance to recover successfully!

    Don't waste another moment!

    Call us for a confidential consultation.