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Questions and Answers

The emphasis of my site is on the Baker Act and lawyers.

The Baker Act was initiated in Florida over 171,700 times in 2013. No lawyers were involved at this stage of the Baker Act. An attorney from the Public Defender's office only gets involved after a mental health facility files a petition ("3032"). A petition was filed in 36,012 cases in 2012-2013, according to court data. So, no attorney is involved in most cases.

People get these Baker Acts (involuntary mental health examinations) anywhere in Florida.  Often,family takes them to an emergency room or law enforcement intervenes. Contrary to the original goal, individuals are taken to a psychiatric unit of a hospital or psychiatric hospital (receiving facility) against the wishes of those involved. Once a Baker Act occurs, individuals are not free to leave and no one can simply "take them home" until the receiving facility decides to discharge them or a doctor releases them. They may be given conflicting information about "voluntary" or involuntary status, deemed incompetent, have medication forced, restrained, secluded, have communication restricted, can’t get their own record, or can't get transferred. Maybe a stranger rather than a family member or friend is asked to make decisions about treatment. Not unheard of during a Baker Act, they might even be considered a voluntary patient after signing one of several papers given in a stack of papers and told to sign. To "add insult to injury," the involuntary patient because of the Baker Act will be charged fees by the receiving facility. And the person who originally sought assistance can't get information.

Perhaps your rights guaranteed by Florida laws weren't observed. Maybe you need your own attorney before a court hearing is held. An attorney is often needed to explain the process, get transferred, discharged or complain so that it doesn't happen to anyone else. Lawyers can often help with matters associated with the Baker Act.