The Florida Mental Health Act, also known as the Baker Act, allows the involuntary examination of individuals based on mental illness and their substantial likelihood of harming themselves or others.The Baker Act can be initiated by judges or mental health professionals, and it is most often initiated by law enforcement officers or physicians. Often times, a family takes the individual to an emergency room for help and/or law enforcement intervenes. 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.
Many initiations though, are considered by law to be “wrongful” because certain criteria are not met. Conflicting information is often given about “voluntary” or involuntary status, medication, competence, restraint, seclusion, communication, transfer, medical records, and/or firearm rights.
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 make matters worse, the patient will also have fees charged by the receiving facility/hospital.
Our law firm can make sure that a person who should not be held under the Baker Act, may be released in a very short time. If the basic criteria for a Baker Act confinement are not present, then that person is not required to be held, and should be released. If the person has been living independently for a long period of time, has family and a support system available, and has had no prior mental health problems, the odds are that they should not be involuntarily confined.
We can act immediately on your behalf, to make the hospital and its physicians aware that we are representing you, and to take legal action to obtain the release of your loved one. If required, we are prepared to file an emergency Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the local Florida Circuit Court, to have you appear before the judge for an emergency release hearing.