Florida Marchman Act Petitions in Broward County

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Published: 06th November 2012
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Many people deal with the heartbreak of watching someone they love slowly lose their life to drug addiction. Chances for recovery from addiction are best when the addict himself or herself finally recognizes the severity of the problem and chooses to get help. An addict must reach a point where he or she realizes that the devastating effects of the addiction outweigh any supposed advantages to continuing to use. While interventions sometimes work, they are by no means foolproof. In situations where every option has been exhausted, forced drug rehabilitation may be the answer.

Forced Drug Rehabilitation

If a drug addict is age 18 or over, he or she cannot be forced into rehab unless order to by a judge. Court-ordered rehab may be imposed at sentencing instead of jail time after a conviction on a nonviolent drug charge. In the state of Florida, the Marchman Act can be invoked by a drug addict's family members or other loved ones, legally compelling the person to undergo rehabilitation. Basically, the Marchman Act says that if a person has a substance abuse problem and is a threat to himself or herself, the person can be ordered by a judge to complete drug addiction rehabilitation.

What You Can Do When You're Out of Options

The spouse or blood relative of an addict can invoke the Marchman Act to force the person into rehab. Alternatively, any three people with direct knowledge of a person's addiction may together invoke the Act. In many cases, addicts with severe problems have no family. That is why the law allows the use of the Marchman Act when three individuals with independent knowledge of the addiction want to compel the addict into forced drug rehab. Whoever invokes this law must demonstrate three things:

- The addict has lost self-control with respect to the drug abuse.

- The addict is a threat to himself or herself or others unless they receive help.

- The addict is unable to understand the severity of the situation and cannot make a rational decision regarding care.

How the Hearing Process Works

The petitioner submits a Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization and a hearing is scheduled. If the judge approves, the individual may be held up to five days to undergo stabilization and assessment, after which time the treating facility makes a court recommendation. The petitioner then files a Petition for Treatment and a second hearing is held. The judge may then order a 60-day program of rehabilitation, and may order a 90-day extension if necessary. If the addict leaves treatment or drops out, he or she may be held in civil contempt and ordered to be returned to treatment or incarcerated.

Why It Helps to Work with an Attorney

Working with an attorney throughout the Marchman Act process ensures all necessary paperwork is completed and submitted on time. The stabilization step can be expedited with the help of an attorney, obtaining a court order in as little as 24 hours. The process is somewhat complex, and without an attorney, a single misstep could cause the entire process to be terminated on a technicality.


Are you slowly watching a loved one spiral downwards and spin out of control due to an addiction? Are you worried that they’ll lose their life, or harm someone else? If so, you’ll want to hear about court ordered forced drug rehabilitation. Forced drug rehab is designed for addicts who have become a danger to themselves or others and can’t get their addiction under control. Go to arlshelp

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