Sunday, October 14, 2012

Marchman Act

What is the MARCHMAN ACT?

The Marchman Act Florida is a law that allows a family member or 3 non family members to request immediate assessment and treatment for a loved one that is abusing drugs and refuses treatment.  


The Florida Marchman Act, through a civil court of law can issue an order that requires an impaired individual to enter into a drug and alcohol, assessment, stabilization and long-term treatment. The key to Marchman Act court order is that the impaired individual must comply with any drug and alcohol, assessment, stabilization and treatment or face significant consequences for their failure to do so. Under the Florida Marchman Act a substance abuser cannot refuse help once a court order is issued. Only through sobriety and remaining in treatment can the addict avoid sanctions by the court. The Marchman Act courts are designed and geared toward getting addicts help.

The Marchman Act handbook can be found HERE

It contains alot of valuable information and should be read carefully.

The Florida Marchman Act is an effective legal tool to help individuals who simply refuse to enter into treatment voluntarily for their substance abuse problems

*Be aware that once the Marchman Act has been started, you can NOT stop it, only a judge can decide when to end the process. 


when a loved one is abusing drugs and refuses help.

Does not see the risks and danger of what they are doing

Can no longer make clear rational decisions due to substance 

Has inflicted, threatened or attempted to inflict harm upon one's self or somebody else.

(for me the Marchman act was a last resort, i knew if i didn't do something quick, my loved one would overdose and die or end up in jail)


No, you do not need to have a lawyer to marchman act somebody, but if you can afford one, it will save you alot of time and effort. If you don't get a lawyer just make sure you do your research first.

(I did not have a lawyer) 


To file a Marchman Act Petion in Hillsborough County you should go to the Court house.
Tampa, 13th Judicial County Court at :
800 East Twiggs Street, 
Tampa Florida 33602 
(813) 272-5894

There is No Filing Fee in Hillsborough County.

You will need to bring an ID.

Try to get there early.

There you will fill out the application
the application will require your personal info such as name/address/phone number
The location of the addict if different than your home address

And you will be required to write a summary of the addicts behavior, what you have witnessed, why this person is at risk, your first hand knowledge of their self destructive behavior, etc

(your written summary will be what the judge makes his decisionn based on)   

You will receive a phone call informing you of the judges decision. 
Then either a hearing will be set
or if Ex parte the addict will be picked up without a hearing

(i received a phone call the same day) 
You are the petitioner
The addict is the respondent 

This is what a Marchman Act petition looks like:
 You will be sworn in before signing

law enforcement will pick up your loved one, and take him/her to ACTS.

Adult Addictions Receiving Facility
This is a secure, medically supervised substance abuse receiving facility providing inpatient assessment, detoxification, stabilization, and short-term (3-7 days) treatment and referral services for adults who are actively using drugs and/or alcohol. This program operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and accepts voluntary or involuntarily admitted clients. Involuntary clients are admitted via law enforcement, physicians certificate, civil or criminal court order.
basically ACTS is a detox facility, where your loved one will be held for up to 5 days, while being assessed.

3107 N 50th St # A
Tampa, FL 33619
(813) 367-2316

(it's a little tricky to find because 56th st turns into 50th st)

while at ACTS you will not be able to see your loved one. 

But you can drop off the following items: 
1 jacket
2 sets of PJ's
3 bras
3 pairs of under wear
3 pairs of socks
$20 in change and small bills-for the vending machine & phone
reading material-books/magazines
writing material-pens/pencils 
The 20 dollars will have to last the week, once used up you will not be allowed to drop off more money.
But you will be allowed to drop off a phone card. 
No lighters or matches
If the addict is detoxing from opiates you will have the option of paying $55.00 for suboxone for the week.

They may be given Valium to help with withdrawals and sleeping.

If your loved one has been marchman acted and sent to ACTS involuntarily, they will NOT be happy about being at ACTS & may call you and express this.

They may call to say extreme Thngs like:
I hate you, your dead to me, i could of done this by myself, this place is like hell, I'd rather be in jail, i may aswell kill myself   

They may call you crying.

They may try to make you feel guilty.

*Try to remember: You are doing the right thing, without this they could die, at least now you know where he/she is and that he/she is safe and not abusing Drugs.

 The counselor at ACTS will be the one to assess your loved one. At some point during the 5 days, the counselor will type a letter to the drug court judge. It will be an evaluation of your loved one and include a recommendation, and further treatment suggestions. YOU will be the one to pick up the letter, which should be left SEALED and you will take it to the Marchman Act office where you filed the petition. 

Try to take the letter the same day, or at the latest the next working day.

Once you have taken the sealed envelope to the court house, you will be given a copy of the assessment.

Then you will fill out an Involuntary Treatment Petition

You will also be the one to pick up your loved one at the end of their stay at ACTS and take them home. 

 In the days that follow your loved ones release from ACTS you will be informed of a court hearing that you and your loved one should both attend to hear the judges orders. 
*please note-if your loved one doesn't show up, YOU still should. Without you there is no case!

If your loved one does not appear, a bench warrant will be issued for their arrest for contempt of court and when found they will be held in jail until another hearing is scheduled.



It depends, many times the judge will order what the ACTS councelor reccomended in his evaluation. 

Some addicts may be given the chance to try sobriety at home, and attend meetings, while being drug tested.

some addicts will be ordered inpatient rehabilitation at treatment facilities such as DACCO

Some may be ordered outpatient care until a residential bed is available at DACCO.

Random drug tests are give 2-3 times a week at DACCO

*Any treatment ordered must be paid for by your loved one or you.

Glossary of terms you may need to know:

Ex Parte - The respondent is taken into custody to be assessed without the benefit of a hearing. The petitioner is responsible for filing both assessment and the petition for treatment within 5 days  from the completion of the assessment.

Involuntary court status report - Filed with the court based on respondent's non-compliance with the court order

ISU - Indigency Screening Unit is where an Individual is sent for eligibility determination for a court appointed attorney

Office of civilregional counsel - Office employing Court Appointed Attorneys

OSC - Order to show cause. Contempt proceedings

Parties - All individuals involved in the case

Petitioner - The individual asking the court to consider evaluating and/or substance abuse treatment on behalf of another

Pick up order - Judge's decision to take a respondent into custody

Respondent - The individual named in the petition. Court will decide whether this individual needs to submit to substance abuse evaluation/treatment

Subpoena - An order to appear for court (served on treatment providers and/or petitioners) relevant to the respondent's treatment

Contact Information you may need:

Katie Wait (judge Espinosa judicial Assistant)-----(813) 272-5610
Office of Civil/Regional CounseL----------------------(813) 221-5134 
Mental Health Clerk-------------------------------------(813) 276-8100 xt 4595
Amy Philbrick (Court Liaison)-------------------------(813) 276-8520
Margrit Goodhand (ACTS Liaison)--------------------(813) 244-8110
Domestic Violence Unit--------------------------------(813) 276- 8100 xt 4356
Abuse Hotline-------------------------------------------(800) 96-ABUSE 


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