Defense Lawyer Near Me | What To Expect from the Best Defense Lawyer
If you find yourself looking at a substantial fine or prison time, you’ll need to find the best Defense Lawyer Near Me as soon as possible. For those who are charged with committing a crime regardless of its severity, representation during criminal proceedings
is definitely a must. It doesn’t matter if you have one of the most brilliant minds or if you have the highest IQ – no amount of smarts will make you competent enough to represent yourself in a criminal trial. Only the best Defense Lawyer Near Me has the expertise that’s required to pick out the special portions of each unique case to spot factors and arguments that could possibly mitigate or negate a potential crime.
What the Best Defense Lawyer Near Me Can Do
Suggest a Good Sentencing Program for You
He can keep you from winding back up in the criminal justice system
if you’re found guilty. For example, if you’ve been convicted of drug possession, he can find a way to shorten your prison sentence from 10 months to 6 months – with the extra 4 months spent at a drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation facility.
Negotiates a Plea Bargain
In most cases, prosecutors will not negotiate with you if you represent yourself. However, a Defense Lawyer Near Me can help you to either reduce your potential sentence of having some of the charges eliminated by negotiating a plea bargain.
Provides a Reality Check
When you are trying to decide whether or not to accept the prosecution’s plea bargain, you’ll need the objective insights of a defense attorney to lead you to your decision.
Gathers Statements and Evidence from Witnesses
Witnesses who are hesitant to give their information or statements for fear of their own safety will be more willing to cooperate with an attorney about their testimony.
Finds Investigators and Expert Witnesses
To make the prosecution’s case less credible, your defense attorney can find and hire expert witnesses who can present evidence that would support your innocence.
If you’re looking to retain the services of the Best Defense Lawyer
Near Me, contact Drug and Alcohol Attorneys to schedule a consultation today.
Alcohol Violations Attorney Boca Raton | All You Need to Know About Florida Alcohol Laws
With over millions of travelers flooding the coasts, the Keys, and Cinderella’s castle, it’s not a big secret that Florida is one of the perfect vacation destinations in the country. However, countless visitors assume that the alcohol laws in the Sunshine State are the same as those where they live. Before you and your best pals get too excited to explore the night scene, know about the Florida alcohol laws so that you won’t have to deal with serious legal problems that would take an alcohol violations attorney Boca Raton to help you out
Common Florida Alcohol Laws
- Drinking isn’t allowed on public property including parking lots, streets, sidewalks, and beaches anywhere in the state.
- It’s illegal for anyone below 21 years of age to purchase alcohol. A first offense is considered a crime. The offender will be required to serve jail time for a period of 60 days and pay a fine of $500. A second offense may result in imprisonment for up to 1 year as well as a $1,000 fine.
- A minor who uses a fake ID to purchase, or even attempt to purchase, alcohol is a crime and is punishable with imprisonment for up to 5 years and a $5,000 fine.
- Lending your ID to a someone or using someone else’s ID is punishable with 60-days jail time and a $500 fine. The state may even suspend both people’s licenses for a year.
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal. For those under 21 years old, including adults, it’s .02 or higher. A BAC of .02 up to .05 will result in license suspension for 6 months.
- Open alcohol containers are prohibited in motor vehicles. A fine of $73 to $90 will be required from the driver. The passengers will receive a fine of $43 to $60.
- The licenses of drivers who refuse to submit a BAC test will be immediately suspended for a year. A second refusal will be punishable by automatic suspension for 18 months.
Do You Need an Alcohol Violations Attorney Boca Raton?
If you or someone you know broke the Florida alcohol law, you’ll need an Alcohol Violations Attorney Boca Raton for legal advice. Schedule a consultation with Drug and Alcohol Attorneys today. We have the answers you need
Defense Lawyer Near Me | Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you’re charged with a crime or facing serious penalties – don’t panic. In a court of law, you’re still presumed innocent until you’re proven guilty. The prosecuting attorney will do everything in his power to prove the elements of the crime charged without a reasonable doubt. At this point, the smartest decision you can make is to hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me. It’s his job to determine the factors and arguments that can be used to remove the charges pressed against you pertaining to the alleged crime
Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
- You want to keep your record clean
You probably know that a criminal record will haunt you for the rest of your life. It’s almost impossible to erase a criminal record that’s why it’s extremely important to prioritize prevention. Did you know that even if your case was dismissed or acquitted, you’d still have it on your record? Whether you win or you lose a case, a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me will still look for a way to keep anything pertaining to the case off your record. Do you have a reputation to hold up? If so, you’ll need all the help you can get to clear your name
- You’d want to steer clear from employment problems
A criminal record can cause you to get fired from your present job. If by some miracle, you were able to keep the job, it can still become an obstacle when you seek a job promotion or career licensing. Aside from this, you’ll find it difficult to get contracts if you’re self-employed. Furthermore, your future job applications will be penalized as well since signing an application form for an employment agreement will subject you to a criminal background check
- You’d want to build your case
If you hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me, he’ll find the needed evidence to help your case. For example, he can talk to witnesses and make them feel secure enough to be open to talk about your case.
Looking for Information about a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me?
If the stakes are higher than a simple parking ticket, you’ll need to have a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me by your side. The Drug and Alcohol Attorneys are dedicated to giving you the support that you need to move on from the past. Schedule a consultation today
Addiction Lawyer Boca Raton | Is the Opioid Crisis, at Least in Part, Man Made?
Every day we speak to families in crisis because a loved one, usually their child (18-30 years old) has a raging substance abuse problem and co-occurring mental health disorder. One startling fact we’ve noticed is that in nearly every case the child has been prescribed medication for ADHD, usually Ritalin or Adderall, in addition to medication for anxiety or depression, such Xanax. It seems that once a medication has been prescribed, and there is an endless list of them because not one size fits all and their effectiveness appears to dissipate over time, the slippery slope of addiction and substance abuse becomes much more prevalent
It appears that genetics also play a part in the likelihood of a substance abuse disorder developing in an individual who also has ADHD. People with ADHD tend to be more impulsive and likely to have behavioral problems, both of which can contribute to drug and alcohol abuse. Also, both ADHD and alcoholism tend to run in families. A child with ADHD who has a parent with alcoholism is more likely to also develop an alcohol abuse problem than one without.
Statistics suggest that our experience may not be unusual. The number of children prescribed medication for ADHD soured from 600,000 in 1990 to 3.5 million by 2013, and that number continues to climb. Moreover, it seems that the increase in the number of prescriptions written by doctors has coincided with four (4) factors: 1) drug company marketing which has expanded the definition of ADHD to include things such as carelessness and impatience; 2) drug companies overstating the benefit of the medications; 3) a twenty (20) year campaign by the drug companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents; and 4) false and misleading advertising by the drug companies as to the true benefits and dangers of their drugs
Studies have shown a strong connection between ADHD, alcoholism and drug abuse. Moreover, ADHD is five (5) to ten (10) times more common among adult alcoholics than it is in people without ADHD. It is also more common for children with ADHD to start abusing alcohol during their teenage years. In one study, 14% of children ages 15-17 with ADHD had problems with alcohol abuse or dependence as adults, compared to children without ADHD. Another study found that at a mean age of 14.9 years, 40% of children with ADHD began using alcohol, compared to 22% of children without ADHD
According to Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the brain’s likelihood of becoming addicted to a drug is related to how a drug increases levels of the naturally-occurring neurotransmitter dopamine, which modulates the brain’s ability to perceive reward reinforcement. The pleasure sensation the brain gets when dopamine levels are elevated creates the motivation for individuals to perform actions that are indispensable to our survival (like eating or procreation). Dopamine is what conditions us to do the things we need to do
. The reason that dopamine-producing drugs are so addictive is that they have the ability to constantly fill a need for more dopamine. “A person may take a hit of cocaine, snort it, it increases dopamine, takes a second, it increases dopamine, third, fourth, fifth, sixth. So there’s never that decrease that ultimately leads to the satiety
,” she says. This is why individuals dealing with addiction often relapse or have to go through treatment multiple times. Based on what I have observed, to some individuals, the need for a “high” is as strong as the need to breathe.
While every client’s case is different, the common thread is the diagnosis of ADHD and the use of medication which nearly always seems to make matters worse. One client, who was facing the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence, had been misdiagnosed and mistreated for his condition for close to twenty (20) years, beginning when he was ten (10) years old. He testified at his sentencing hearing that after he was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, as he got older and his need for a “high” increased, he progressed from abusing the medications to abusing cocaine, heroin, caffeine, and basically anything that would make him “feel better”.
There are a limited number of treatment centers that are really great at dealing with the dual diagnosis patient regardless of whether the client is in criminal or Marchman Court. To observe a client who has been stabilized and is in recovery is a thing to behold, it’s like saying goodbye to Mr. Hyde and hello to Dr. Jekyll. Parents often tell us that they finally have their child back after countless years of despair.
We are proud to work with an incredible team of professionals who are ready, willing and able to help with these issues. We do not charge for a consultation or for access to my resources. So, if you know a family in crisis encourage them to reach out for help
Boca Raton DUI Lawyer | To Blow or Not To Blow, That is the Question
As a Drug and Alcohol attorney who helps individuals and families navigate the legal system to take advantage of the Marchman Act (Florida’s involuntary commitment statute for drug and alcohol disorders), I also represent people that have been arrested for drug or alcohol-related offenses
One of the offenses that I most frequently get retained on is DUI. As such, the question I get asked more often than any is whether or not the client should or should not have taken the breath test. Based on my twenty-two years of experience handling these cases this is my personal opinion, other attorneys may have a different opinion. This only applies to Florida DUI cases, the laws may be different in other states.
Before I share my thoughts with you, let me say that you should never drink and drive, period. There is no excuse for having a drink, even one drink, and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. With the advent of Uber and Lyft, a safe ride home is just a click away. There is no excuse for endangering your life or the lives of others when you’ve had a drink and plan to get behind the wheel. Ditto if you’re under the influence of drugs or medication that affect your ability to drive a motor vehicle (most prescription meds warn about the dangers of mixing meds and alcohol). As someone who’s had a family member killed by a drunk driver, I say this in the strongest terms possible. Nevertheless, I take my oath of attorney very seriously and we always do the best job possible for our clients.
If you are stopped by the police you have an absolute right to remain silent and not answer any questions about how much you’ve had to drink or where you’ve come from. This applies even though the officer will likely not tell you that you have the right to remain silent (the US Supreme Court has ruled that a person stopped for an “ordinary” traffic stop is not in custody for purposes of Miranda). So, be polite, tell the officer(s) you intend to remain silent on the advice of counsel and produce your documents when asked to do so
If the officer smells booze on your breath, I can pretty much guarantee that you’re taking a ride downtown to the local county jail (you can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride). As such, it is likely that you will be asked to perform roadside sobriety tasks/exercises as part of the officer’s evidence gathering process. You have an absolute right to refuse to do the tasks although you will not be told that is the case. Do not perform the roadside tasks, ever, you’re almost certainly being arrested anyway.
Subsequent to your “lawful” arrest you will be asked to submit to a breath test. The sanction for either blowing over the legal limit or refusing to take the breath test is outlined below. Keep in mind that this is purely an administrative sanction and is separate and apart from the criminal sanctions you face for a DUI arrest and conviction. If you look at your driving license you will notice that below your signature you’ve already agreed to take the test, it’s a condition precedent to being given a license. It’s called Implied Consent
If this is your first DUI and you’ve had more than one drink before being stopped don’t take the test. If this is your second or subsequent DUI arrest, regardless of how much you’ve had to drink, don’t take the test. If you refuse to take the test you should be given the following warning:
“If you fail to submit to the test I have requested of you, your privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended for a period of one (1) year for a first refusal, or eighteen (18) months if your privilege has been previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine or blood. Additionally, if you refuse to submit to the test I have requested of you and if your driving privilege has been previously suspended for a prior refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine or blood, you will be committing a misdemeanor. Refusal to submit to the test I have requested of you is admissible into evidence in any criminal proceeding.”
What you are not told is that if you do take the test and are over the legal limit (0.08) your license will be suspended for six (6) months. If this is your first DUI you have a right to a hardship license once you’ve enrolled in DUI school. If this is your second or subsequent DUI you will need to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver license within ten (10) days of your arrest or you will be facing thirty (30) days of hard time, which means no driving at all for any reason, if you blew over the legal limit. If you refused to take the test you will be facing (90) days of hard time. After the hard time period is over you can apply for a hardship license if you’ve enrolled in DUI school.
That being said, it’s no coincidence that people arrested for these types of offenses are either in recovery or in need of treatment. If this is not your first time being arrested for DUI please get help. Statistics suggest that if you’ve had one DUI you’re very likely to get a second DUI within five years of the first.
My team can help you get the help you need, and we never charge for a consultation. My team can handle any criminal offense so please feel free to contact me with any potential referrals or questions you may have
. The Drug & Alcohol Attorneys are not only where you can find a Boca Raton DUI lawyer, but a group of people that want to help you and your loved ones.
Florida Marchman Act Attorney | What You Need to Know About Marchman Act
When it comes to getting help for addiction, not everyone is willing or able to seek out what they need. Some people require intervention. Thankfully in Florida, we have the Marchman Act. What is the Marchman Act
? You don’t need a Florida Marchman Act attorney to understand what it does, but you will need one to help you file the proper petitions.
What Does the Marchman Act Do?
The Marchman Act was passed in 1993 and is a crucial tool used to help those struggling with substance abuse that has proven that they cannot get help themselves. The process involves a parent, spouse, or close friend petitioning the courts to intervene in extreme cases where the person is a danger to both themselves and the general public. The courts can order an assessment of the person in question for up to five days. This can lead to a maximum of 90 days of involuntary commitment at a certified treatment facility. All treatments remain confidential and if the person leaves the facility before treatment is complete, they can be held in contempt
Does the Marchman Act Really Work?
Yes, the Marchman Act does work. What needs to be kept in mind when talking about the Marchman Act is that it is for the most extreme cases only. Cases involving minors, people also struggling with severe mental illness, and cases where the individual is an immediate threat to themselves or the general public are Marchman Act cases. While people can relapse, detox and rehabilitation centers have proven to help. Sometimes breaking an addict’s daily cycle or getting them out of a certain environment can be the difference between sobriety or continued intoxication. When it comes down to it, the Marchman Act saves lives
Looking for a Florida Marchman Act Attorney?
Have you or someone you know been looking for help with someone struggling with substance abuse? A Florida Marchman Act attorney at Drug and Alcohol Attorneys are here to help you. Contact us today
for more information about how to get your loved one the help they need.
Involuntary Commitment and Treatment and Subsequent Constitutional Rights Violations
Written by: Jaclyn Bovarnick
John Doe, a young man who found himself in the criminal justice system because of an “impulse control” issue, suffered for over twenty years from a mental illness that was poorly managed and mis-diagnosed1
. As a result of his poorly treated mental illness, he began to use and abuse anything that he could put in his mouth, in his veins, or up his nose1
. He became addicted to substance use because he wanted to do anything to make himself “feel better”. While John Doe fought to stay out of trouble, his family suffered as they watched their son’s life deteriorate. While they became physically, emotionally, and financially spent, they wondered what their options were and how they could help their son get his life back on track before it was completely lost.
There is a “definite connection between mental illness and the use of addictive substances”2
and these diseases, if left unchecked and untreated, only get worse with time. As a result, an individual suffering from these diseases can really go to one of three places: prison, a morgue, or to treatment. This topic is of importance because mental health is a very prominent issue in today’s society as well as substance abuse, especially with the urgent opioid crisis. In 2016, more than 63,000 lives worldwide were lost to drug overdose3
, a majority of which were as a result of opioid use. In 2016 alone, statistics showed that opioids killed more people than breast cancer. There were 42,249 drug fatalities in the United States, 66% percent of which involved opioids; that’s over a thousand more than the American’s who die from breast cancer ever year3
. Statistics from this past year also revealed that America is one of the countries with the highest prevalence of alcohol abuse, where 237 million men and 46 million women are problem drinkers and alcohol abusers4
. More than 3 million people died in 2016 from drinking too much alcohol, meaning 1 in 20 deaths worldwide were linked to harmful drinking4
. “Far too many people, their families, and their communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol” 4
, said the WHO director-general, Adhanom Ghebreyesus; the same can be said for mental illness and drug abuse.
“The mortality trends in mental and substance use disorders point to the need for a well-considered response from local and state governments, as well as care providers, to help reduce the disparities we are seeing across the country (Dr. Christopher Murray)” 5
. As a country we need to have a bigger discussion about getting individuals the treatment they need as well as keeping them in treatment so they have a successful recovery. A major dilemma with the treatment of these diseases is that individuals, along with their families, sometimes have an issue with either accepting the fact that they need treatment, going in and out of treatment facilities because of relapse or not wanting to be there, or believing that they don’t need treatment at all. There are options when it comes to helping families and individuals when a loved one has a substance abuse and/or a mental health disorder. These options can involve the use of involuntary commitment and treatment under the Baker Act or Marchman Act, sometimes in conjunction with temporary or permanent guardianship over the person with the disease.
A major implication of involuntarily committing a person for substance abuse and mental health treatment is the violation of their constitutional rights. A constantly reoccurring question asks whether involuntary treatment and commitment violates a persons’ constitutional rights. Following this question, one might ask if a person is in need of involuntarily commitment for treatment, who should have the ability to make this decision and why is someone else more capable of making a ‘better’ life decision that could have lasting effects on that person’s life.
The Florida Mental Health Act (also known as the Baker Act) took effect in 1972 and is a state statute that allows for involuntary detention and subsequent examination of mentally ill and dangerous persons for a limited time period, ranging from 48 to 72 hours6
. The intent of this statute is to provide the least restrictive form of intervention for mentally ill persons and to provide a Bill of Rights for persons of all ages who may suffer from mental illness7
. Under this law, if (1) there is reason to believe that a person has a mental illness, (2) the person does not agree to a voluntary examination, and (3) without care the person may suffer harm or be a danger to himself or others, the involuntary examination process can be initiated by a court order, by a law enforcement officer, or by a physician or a mental health professional6
. Upon initiation of a Baker Act, the person is delivered to a receiving facility and must be examined within 72 hours; patients may not be held involuntarily for longer than 72 hours. By the end of the 72-hour holding period, the receiving facility must act based on the patient’s best interests. If treatment is deemed necessary for the patient but they refuse voluntary treatment, a petition for involuntary placement (known as civil commitment in other states) may be filed6
A question one might ask about the Baker Act is does it violate a person’s constitutional rights. “Because civil commitment takes away a person’s freedom, the patient in a civil commitment proceeding receives full due process rights”6
and a “finding of ‘mental illness’ alone cannot justify a State’s locking a person up against his will and keeping him indefinitely in simple custodial confinement”6
. Therefore, the answer to this question is no, depending upon the fact that the mentally ill person meets the designated criteria for involuntary detention under the Baker Act statute. A person’s constitutional rights must also be upheld once committed and receiving treatment.; “psychiatric patients retain substantive constitutional rights”6
to conditions appropriate with their diagnoses. The first case brought to the Supreme Court that shed light on the rights of mental health patients was O’Connor v. Donaldson
422 U.S. 563 (1975). In this case, a man was confined against his will in a state mental hospital for 15 years even though he was not thought to be dangerous to himself or others and was not receiving any treatment6
. The Supreme Court held that O’Connor violated Donaldson’s constitutional right to freedom6
. Eventually this decision led to the due process protections in most states’ laws6
. Under due process protections, the Baker Act does not violate a person’s constitutional rights. Individual’s under the Baker Act are allowed a hearing to determine if they should continue to be held because of mental illness. If a doctor does not deem them to be mentally ill and harmful to themselves or another, then the hold will be released, and they are free to go.
The Baker Act can be a useful tool in helping people who suffer from mental illness by keeping themselves and others out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, in some cases, the Baker Act may not be enough to save a person’s life, however, it is a necessary tool in the fight against mental illness. The Baker Act is different from the Marchman Act in that it is used solely for the purpose of involuntary detention of a mentally ill person, but it is certainly of equal importance.
The Marchman Act, also known as the Florida Law on Substance Abuse or the Hal. S Marchman Alcohol & Other Drug Services Act of 1993 addresses an entire array of substance abuse impairment issues7
. In 1993, it replaced the Myers Act which was alcohol abuse only, and the Florida Drug Dependency Act which addressed ‘other’ drugs. “The Marchman Act is not just the substance abuse version of the Baker Act”7
; the Marchman Act, unique to Florida, is a piece of lifesaving legislation that permits the involuntary commitment of an individual, minor or adult, suffering from a drug or alcohol substance abuse disorder1
in addition to a co-occurring mental health disorder.
The Marchman Act (397.675, FS) provides three distinct non-court procedures (protective custody, emergency admission, alternative assessment and stabilization of minors) and one court procedure (involuntary assessment and stabilization) for conducting assessments, which may include detoxification, stabilization, and short-term treatment. The criteria is: There is good faith reason to believe the person is substance abuse impaired and, because of such impairment: 1. Has lost the power of self-control with respect to substance use; and either 2a. Has inflicted, or threatened or attempted to inflict, or unless admitted is likely to inflict, physical harm on himself or herself or another; or 2b. Is in need of substance abuse services and, by reason of substance abuse impairment, his or her judgment has been so impaired that the person is incapable of appreciating his or her need for such services and of making a rational decision in regard thereto; however, mere refusal to receive such services does not constitute evidence of lack of judgment with respect to his or her need for such services.7
The Marchman Act is initiated when an Ex Parte petition, which is a temporary order pending a formal hearing or an emergency request for continuance8
, is filed and reviewed, followed by a Court order, ordering the assessment of an individual for up to 5 days, possibly followed by involuntarily commitment for up to 90 days (which can be extended for a further 90 days)1
. If an individual decides to leave treatment prior to completion of the Court ordered treatment, a pick-up order may be issued, and the individual is held in contempt of court. The Court can then use the threat of incarceration to “leverage” the individual back into treatment1
. Could this be a violation of a person’s constitutional rights? The Marchman Act provides many placement options for assessment and possible subsequent treatment; some places include hospitals, addiction receiving facilities, as well as detoxification facilities. Treatment plans are individualized and are based upon information from the assessments taken at placement facilities. All of these proceeding are confidential and will become a part of the person’s medical records.
Simon Astor, a doctor currently completing his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital, shared the horrors of treating a child who was brought in after suffering a heart attack caused by an untreated opioid addiction. He said, “there is nothing worse than having to tell a mother and father that their 18, 19, or 20-year-old child is gone because they suffered a heart attack after shooting up with heroin.”1
Involuntary commitment and treatment for this young man under the Marchman Act may have had the ability to save his life.
An example ex parte petition titled: EX PARTE PETITION SEEKING INVOLUNATRY SUBSTANCE ABUSE ASSESSMENT, STABLIZATION AND TREATMENT SERVICES (MARCHMAN ACT) filed by Petitioner in Palm Beach County (2018).
The Respondent, who is 39 years of age, has been a heavy drinker for the past 20 years. At 13 years of age, the Respondent attended a detox facility for an addiction to pain pills, cocaine, and alcohol but did not follow up with any post-detox treatment. The Respondent, who has lived with the Petitioner for the past 10 years has been struggling with alcohol abuse and social anxiety as well as having ‘bad’ thoughts, especially towards the Petitioner. For the past 12 years, the Respondent has been addicted to pain pills such as Oxycodone which he began following a back injury. In the last year, in addition to significant consumption of alcohol, the Respondent has been abusing medications obtained by “doctor shopping” by being dishonest about his addictions and prescriptions he was already taking. The Petitioner has become more aggressive and physical towards the Petitioner, battering her on several occasions. In addition to his prescribed medications and cocaine use, the Respondent has been using his deceased father’s medications; all of which are mixed with alcohol. In March 2017, the Respondent threatened to shoot the Petitioner’s family with firearms that were already in his possession. On November 3, 2017, the Petitioner asked the Respondent to leave their home because he was drunk and aggressive, scaring her. The Petitioner has learned more recently that the Respondent has been abusing additional anxiety and anti-depressant medications.9
Under Section 397.675 (Marchman Act), Florida Statutes, the Respondent meets the criteria for Involuntary Substance Abuse Assessment and Stabilization in that he is substance abuse impaired and has a co-occurring mental health disorder, and because of such impairment and disorder he meets the criteria explained above. Therefore, the Petitioner requests that the court enter an Ex Parte Order finding the Respondent in need of Involuntary Substance Abuse Assessment and Stabilization. The Petitioner also requests that the court order the Respondent to be taken and remain at Sunrise Detox Facility where he can be assessed and stabilized until the court can conduct an additional hearing to determine Involuntary Treatment Services.9
In cases such as this, where the Respondent’s disease has seemingly taken control of his ability to make good decisions, the Marchman Act has the potential to save not only his life, but the lives of others around him. Ultimately, the Marchman Act has the ability to save many lives of those suffering from substance abuse and mental health disorders and has the possibility to become a leading statute for fighting the opioid epidemic faced by our nation.
A Guardianship, also known as an Emergency Temporary Guardianship (ETG), can be valuable for cases in which there is a mental health disorder with a history of substance abuse, but such substances are not immediately found in someone’s system. An ETG can also be useful in situations where the Petitioners have exhausted every option such as the Marchman Act and the Baker Act to try to get their loved ones the help they need. Like the Marchman Act, the ETG is set for 90 days (with the ability to renew for an additional 90 days). A Guardianship enables a Petitioner (in most cases a family member), to make health care decisions on behalf of a Respondent when “there appears to be imminent danger that the physical or mental health or safety of the person will be seriously impaired or that the person’s property is in danger of being wasted, misappropriated, or lost unless immediate action is taken.”1
In an emergency proceeding, the Court grants temporary relief pending a determination of incapacity. The emergency temporary relief gives the emergency temporary guardian the ability to get the alleged incapacitated person (AIP) into treatment. This temporary relief is granted when an individual appears to be in danger to themselves or others. Once incapacity is determined, a guardianship allows the Petitioner to make decisions for their loved ones regarding medical care, management of their property, restrictions of their right to travel, right to vote, choice of residence and who to socialize with; once determined incapacitated in Florida, their right to possess and own a firearm is now taken away. Do these decisions made by the Petitioner and the state of Florida violate the Respondent’s constitutional rights?
One of the benefits of a petition for an Emergency Temporary Guardianship, is the ability to circumvent HIPPA1
which must be considered when an individual reaches the age of eighteen. A parent, physician, or interested person over the age of eighteen, who qualifies as a Guardian, has the ability to begin to manage the AIP’s medical decisions, receive medical information on behalf of the AIP, authorize treatment based on physician recommendations, initiate a change in facilities, or decide any other specific medical decisions unique to that particular AIP1
An example ETG Petition titled: PEITION FOR APPOINTMENT OF EMERGENCY TEMPORARY GUARDIAN, filed by Petitioners against Respondent (2018).
A Petition to Determine Incapacity has been filed with respect to Respondent, an alleged incapacitated person (AIP), but a guardian has not yet been appointed. The Petitioners are his parents and are interested in the welfare of the AIP. There appears to be imminent danger that the physical or mental health or safety of the AIP will be seriously impaired or that the property of that person is in danger of being wasted, misappropriated or lost unless immediate action is taken because:
The AIP is 21 years of age. The AIP had manual dexterity delays and required speech therapy and had difficulty learning. The AIP was diagnosed with ADHD at an early age and while in middle school he was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. At the age of 9, following a surgery, the AIP was prescribed pain medication. The Petitioners soon found him drinking the entire bottle of Hydrocodone, saying it “made him feel good”. At 13 years of age, the AIP began an obsession with smoking marijuana. One night his mother (Petitioner) asked to talk about his addiction and the AIP replied, “You do not understand, this is the only peace I have ever found.” The AIP was taken to counseling with limited success. He was caught stealing cold medicine from drugstores and taking Corcidin by the handful. The AIP was taken to a treatment facility at the age of 14, however, he refused to stay in treatment and ran away twice with no shoes. At the ages of 15 and 16 the AIP was in and out of other treatment facilities. Around January 2012, the AIP went into the Petitioners home and stole whatever drugs he could find as well as a knife. The police were called and the Respondent was arrested for drug possession where he wanted taken for a psych evaluation. He was then taking to another treatment facility for several months.
The following year, after he has aspirated on his vomit in an outpatient program, the AIP was taken to a treatment center in Florida where he remained in recovery for six months eventually gaining the ability to seek employment. He relapsed and ended up getting arrested on four drug possession charges, resulting in admittance to a Drug Court program. The AIP was terminated from this program after multiple “dirty” violations. By the age of 19 the AIP had 4 separate drug convictions and no place to live (2015). In November of 2017, the AIP began to hallucinate telling the Petitioner he was being chased by people, his phone was bugged, and he “was going to die”. After being Baker Acted by police and taken to North Shore Medical Center in Miami, the Respondent requested his mother come get him, from Virginia, because he was being poisoned by Anthrax. AIP’s mother discovered he was using meth and taking Xanax. Around November 9, 2017 under a Marchman Act order the AIP was ordered to a detox facility in Boca Raton, Florida. The AIP became uncooperative and belligerent and subsequently left, in direct violation of the order. An Emergency Ex Parte Motion was filed for a pick up order. The AIP now resides in South County Mental Health Facility.
The Petitioners are seeking Emergency Temporary Guardianship because the AIP is a threat to himself and to others and needs medical treatment. The AIP is noncompliant with treatment. There is imminent danger in that he is likely to inflict physical harm onto himself or to another. The AIP has lost the power of self-control due to substance abuse and a co-occurring mental health disorder and he is incapable of appreciating his need for treatment. 10
The proposed emergency temporary guardians should be appointed because the AIP is incapable of making rational decisions due to his substance abuse and mental health disorder. Without proper care, the AIP is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself thereby posing a substantial threat to himself and others. The temporary guardians will be able to make rational decisions for the AIP in order to save his life and hopefully help him get on the right track.
There is also something called a Permanent Guardianship which can be granted by a Court with or without an ETG. The petitioner can ask for Permanent Guardianship if it appears that the AIP is not going to become competent enough to manage their own affairs. If a Permanent Guardianship is granted, all of the benefits of the ETG apply, but for an indefinite period of time1
Constitutional Rights Violations
In terms of the Baker Act, under due process protections, this statute does not violate a person’s constitutional rights. The Marchman Act, however, is relatively newer and we have yet to come across a case where violation of a person’s constitutional rights have set grounds for what due process protections are protected under the statute.
In terms of Guardianship, some might question the ability of a guardian to take away an individual’s rights under the constitution such as the right to vote as well as an individual’s right as a free person such as the right to travel and to manage one’s own property. If determined incapacitated, it makes sense that an appointed guardian with an interest in the welfare of the individual make rational decisions on their behalf. Also in terms of an incapacitated person losing their ability to possess a firearm(s), although this seems to violate a person’s second amendment rights, there is no reason that a person under the influence of substances or with a mental disorder that causes them to make irrational decisions should possess a firearm. This would put their life in danger and potentially many others around them.
There is an old idea that people who have a substance abuse disorder cannot be helped until they reach their own bottom11
Too many have died while their loved ones waited for them to ‘hit rock bottom’ causing the individual to finally seek treatment or help11
. Because of statutes such as the Marchman Act, we no longer have to play this tired game. The Marchman Act, as well as a petition for Guardianship, can be effective tools to get individuals the treatment they so desperately need, even if they deny it because their judgment is impaired. Although these statutes sometimes seem to take away an individual’s constitutional rights, if someone else is more capable of making an informed, rational decision on their behalf thereby keeping that individual and others around them safe, then they should be able to petition a court to do so.
Involuntary committing a loved one for substance abuse and mental illness can be a fairly difficult situation and not all cases turn out well. But, the Baker Act, Marchman Act, and Guardianship are all ways in which we make possible, the opportunity to save the life of a loved one or individuals around them.
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Drug and Alcohol Attorney in Boca Raton | What to Expect
Selecting a lawyer is no small task. Choosing the right lawyer
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What Should I Expect from an Attorney?
When it comes to the attorney/client relationship
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- Work with you to pinpoint the problem.
- Research and analyze all available facts and information relating to your problem.
- Interview anyone involved.
- Negotiate a settlement if both sides can reach an agreement.
- Keep you informed about what is going on in your case and answer your questions.
- Discuss fees with you at your first visit and come to an agreement about the way in which the fee will be paid.
- Be candid with you about your problem, your prospects for success‚ the time it will take‚ and if you should accept any settlement offered.
- Keep in confidence anything you say.
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