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Feel your legal rights have been abused in a Baker Act within Florida? Need an attorney to help.
The Baker Act went into effect in Florida as a result of numerous concerns about the civil rights of people in psychiatric hospitals. When you or someone you love is confined for involuntary psychiatric examination, they have rights and the length of time they may be held is limited.
While I am an attorney, I also am a psychologist, I have also had experience as part of the medical staff of numerous hospitals. Additionally, I worked for the public defender’s office which typically receives automatic appointments for patients under the Baker Act when a facility files a petition for involuntary treatment.
Understanding of Patient Rights
Thanks to my extensive background with the Baker Act, I have an in-depth knowledge of the rights of patients and their families. I have experience with the requirements for discharge, how long a facility may hold a patient, and experience getting people who were improperly confined released. This is one of the reasons why I have continued to focus strictly on Baker Act patients in my law practice.
Whether your concerns pertain to the criteria law enforcement or a physician used in invoking the Baker Act for admission, or your concern is how the facility is handling the admission, we are here to serve as an advocate for you or your loved one.
Whether you need help having a patient discharged, or you have been informed the facility you are in is requesting an involuntary confinement, I can help. Contact Talmadge Law Firm immediately with any Baker Act question or concerns or if you feel there was a civil rights violation during any part of the process of evaluating a patient whether that patient is you or your loved one.
What is a Baker Act?
The Florida Mental Health Act, commonly known as the Baker Act, allows the involuntary examination (initiation) of individuals based on mental illness and “substantial likelihood” of serious dangerousness. The Baker Act can be initiated by judges, law enforcement officers, physicians, or mental health professionals. It is most often initiated by law enforcement or ER doctors.
The Baker Act is governed by Florida law. People get a Baker Act anywhere in Florida. Often times, a family takes the individual to an emergency room for help and/or law enforcement intervenes. Many initiations are wrongful because the criteria are not met.
Contrary to the original goal to help those involved, individuals are taken to a psychiatric receiving facility against wishes. 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.
Often, Baker Act initiation is either wrongful and/or unfair. Conflicting information is given about “voluntary” or involuntary status, competence, medication, restraint, seclusion, communication, medical records, transfer, or firearm rights. Sometimes, a stranger rather than a family member or friend is asked to make decisions about treatment. In some Baker Act cases, a person might even be considered a voluntary patient after signing one of several papers given in a stack of documents they are given to sign. To “add insult to injury,” the patient will also have fees charged by the receiving facility/hospital.
In need of help from a lawyer who works primarily with Baker Acts?
The Baker Act was initiated over 200,000 times in recent years. No lawyer was involved for help at this stage of the Baker Act. A lawyer from the Public Defender’s office only gets involved in a Baker Act to help after a receiving facility files a petition for continued treatment. In most Baker Act cases, no lawyer is involved to help guarantee your rights are observed. Many Baker Act initiations are wrongful. Baker Act initiation is different than the facility filing a petition.
You need your own experienced lawyer to help. I am a lawyer familiar with Baker Act laws, rules, and typical procedures. My practice concentrates on working on Baker Act issues. Free self-help is insufficient. Probably, your legal rights guaranteed by Florida and Federal laws weren’t observed.
- You need a lawyer to explain the process, get transferred, discharged, contact the facility, and to work on your behalf.
- You want a Baker Act lawyer familiar with Florida laws and rules to complain after discharge.
- Get correct information about your gun rights and background checks from an experienced Baker Act lawyer.