The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971 referred to as the “Baker Act,” allows for examination and hospitalization of an individual on an involuntary basis. The Baker Act may be used by a physician, a mental health professional, a judge, or a law enforcement officer under very specific conditions.
Using the guidelines of the Baker Act, the person to be admitted must be judged to potentially have a problem with mental illness and because of that, (s)he is dangerous.
Florida Department of Children and Families has specified more than 100 facilities statewide to which a person may be admitted once it has been determined they have no medical issues which could be causing the psychiatric problems. Under the Baker Act, you may be admitted for up to 72 hours for psychiatric examination.
At any time during the exam one of the following may occur:
- Release — you may be discharged
- Involuntary Placement — the facility may petition the court for involuntary commitment in a psychiatric facility
- Made “voluntary” — the facility may obtain your request to be a voluntary patient
- Outpatient Treatment — court orders may be sought for involuntary treatment
Talmadge Law Firm can explain the various instances where hospitalization under the Baker Act may be implemented.