The Marchman Act is a Florida law that allows a court to order an individual with addiction issues into treatment. If your family member or loved one has addiction issues, there are options…and we can help! If your loved one is suffering from addiction, David M Cohen, Esq. can help you choose the best solution for getting your loved one on the path to sobriety.
Mr. Cohen is an innovative problem solver with years of experience in helping addicts and their family members receive the proper treatment that they need and deserve. David M. Cohen, Esq. is a highly regarded attorney who handles Marchman Act cases throughout the state of Florida.
Florida Marchman Act Attorney
Q. What is the Marchman Act?
A. It’s a civil, confidential involuntary commitment statute in the state of Florida. To put it in layman’s terms, it’s a law devised to assist families through the courts to get loved ones into court-ordered-and-monitored intervention assessment stabilization or detox, and long-term treatment when they won’t do it themselves.
Q. Who can invoke the Florida Marchman Act to force someone into treatment?
A. A spouse, blood relative or any person who have direct knowledge of a person’s substance abuse. Many people who don’t have any family at all, so that’s why the law allows for any person ,a non family member with independent knowledge to initiate process.
A. You have to demonstrate that the person has lost the power of self-control with respect to substance abuse, and that they’re likely to inflict harm upon themselves or other people unless they get help. Also, you must demonstrate he or she doesn’t have the capacity to appreciate the need for care or make any kind of rational decision regarding that care. And finally, they’re unwilling to do this voluntarily.
Once you file, many times the addict suddenly says, “Okay, I’ll do it.”
Q. Once I file the necessary paperwork, how does the process work?
A. A hearing is set before the court after a Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization is filed. That petition basically says, “Judge, I want you to have this person assessed and stabilized.” Following this hearing, the individual is held for up to five days for medical stabilization and assessment. A recommendation is also made to the court.
Following that process, a Petition for Treatment must be filed with the court and a second hearing is held for the court to review the assessment and recommendation. Based upon that recommendation, the judge can then order a 90-day treatment period with a possible 90-day extension, if necessary. If the addict exits treatment in violation of the judge’s order, you return to court and have the addict answer to the court as to why he or she did not comply with treatment and then the addict has to make the decision to return to treatment or proceed to jail. If the addict refuses, he or she is held in civil contempt of court for not following the treatment order, and is ordered to either return to treatment or be incarcerated. This why the Marchman Act works — it carries real consequences.
One advantage of hiring a law firm is having the ability to skip this first step and expedite the entire process, especially the crucial phase of having the person medically stabilized. A lawyer will file a sworn petition that lays out the facts and demonstrates the need for immediate substance abuse assessment, detox and intervention. There can then be a court order in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
Q. Must the addict be a Florida resident to be treated under the Marchman Act?
A. No. People who are using drugs are often transient, so it’s difficult for families to lock them down with residency. With the Marchman Act, if they step foot in an area, we can file in that area. We actually have clients from all across the nation calling us saying, “We’re going to get somebody down to Florida so we can hold them.”
Q. Is an attorney needed to seek treatment under the Florida Marchman Act?
A. An attorney isn’t required under the Marchman Act, but an experienced attorney does offer a greater chance of success. 9-of-10 families who try to take advantage of the Marchman Act on their own often run into difficulty because they simply don’t know the rules of civil procedure. It’s like doing your own criminal case or divorce. Many Marchman Act filings are dismissed for technical reasons, even though the addict fits all the necessary criteria to qualify.
It’s also important to note that in order to protect the addict’s due-process rights, every addict who appears in court under the Marchman Act has an attorney assigned to them. Families walk in there thinking they’re trying to get someone help, and suddenly their loved one has an attorney trying to get the case dismissed.
We like to tell the families, “Look, you tell us to start this thing, and then it’s time for you to step back. You’ve dealt with enough, and it’s time for us to shoulder the burden here. We’re going to get the person into treatment, and if they leave, we’re going to get them back.”
The Law Offices of David M. Cohen, P.A., is able to help families benefit from the years of experience we have in working on Marchman Act cases.
ABOUT OUR FIRM
Our law firm maintains consistency with what we say and do daily with all our cases and clients. We don’t pretend to be someone we aren’t, and we don’t throw out settlement numbers just to get your case. We are reliable, responsible, accountable, and resourceful and this shows in our performance as a law firm.
Mr. Cohen has over 28 years of experience helping clients retain the benefits that they deserve. Whether it be an injured worker seeking medical treatment or benefits, or a loved one in need of addiction treatment, Mr. Cohen is skilled in his profession as a knowledgeable attorney that truly cares about his clients, and it shows in his daily activities.
Mr. Cohen has been practicing law for over 28 years in the state of Florida and has been a
member of the Florida Bar since 1993. Mr. Cohen is highly qualified as a Workers
Compensation attorney as well as a Marchman Act attorney. Mr. Cohen has expertise
based on a deep level of knowledge and having a 28-year commitment to these areas of
law that he practices.