Per Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes, the Baker Act provides for a process to obtain an ex-parte court order for the involuntary examination of an individual if there is reason to believe that a person is mentally ill and because of his or her mental illness and the following conditions are met:
- The person has refused voluntary examination and/or is unable to determine whether an examination is necessary;
- The person is likely to suffer from neglect and the refusal could threaten his or her well-being; and
- If there is substantial likelihood that without care or treatment, the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself or herself or others in the near future as evidenced by recent behavior.
A Petition and Affidavit Seeking Ex-Parte Requiring Involuntary Examination may be obtained and filed in the Clerk's office locations in Sarasota or Venice. The petition can be filed by a person(s) who has firsthand knowledge of the situation. There is not cost to file the petition.
A judge will review the petition and, if the petition is granted, a pick-up order is issued for examination and is provided to the Sheriff's Office for service on the respondent. In Sarasota County, there are two examination facilities and the facility to be utilized is determined at the time of pick-up.
Note: Ex-Parte proceedings are not appropriate when the person is already in the custody of law enforcement and can be evaluated by trained personnel.
Per Chapter 397 of the Florida Statutes, the Marchman Act provides for a process to obtain an ex-parte order for the involuntary assessment and stabilization of a person abusing or addicted to drugs or alcohol when the respondent has refused to voluntarily receive care.
A Petition and Affidavit Seeking Ex-Parte Order Requiring Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization may be obtained and filed in the Clerk's office locations in Sarasota or Venice. If the respondent (the person needing the care) is an adult, a petition for involuntary services may be filed by the respondent's spouse or legal guardian, any relative, a licensed service provider, or an adult who has direct personal knowledge of the substance abuse impairment and his or her prior course of assessment and treatment (This person is referred to as the petitioner). There is not cost to file the petition.
Note: Ex-parte proceedings are not appropriate when the person is already in the custody of law enforcement and can be evaluated by trained personnel.
Risk Protection Order
A petition for a risk protection order may be filed only by a Law Enforcement Officer or Agency, and alleges that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or to others by having a firearm or any ammunition in his or her custody or control. If you believe someone poses a danger to himself or herself or to others if he or she has access to firearms or ammunition, please contact your local Law Enforcement Agency.
Local Law Enforcement Agencies
- City of Sarasota Police Department
- City of North Port Policy Department
- City of Venice Police Department
- Town of Longboat Key Policy Department
- Sarasota County Sheriff's Office
For more information, review the following resources.