What Can the Marchman Act Accomplish?
Individuals seek information about The Florida Marchman Act because they have encountered someone in their life who refuses to enter treatment or repeatedly leaves treatment against medical advice and continues to abuse substances. If implemented correctly, one can obtain court orders via the Marchman Act compelling a substance impaired individual to obtain assessment, stabilization (detox) and long term treatment. Sometimes it is not clear if a loved one is in fact abusing substances. Only erratic and unusual behavior may be present. If an individual is uncertain if their loved one is abusing substances, please refer to the embedded list regarding signs of substance abuse.
It should be understood that neither a petitioner, their attorney, court officials, nor the respondent can dictate the level of treatment or type of treatment the loved one in question needs and will receive. Trained medical professionals will provide their treatment recommendations and decide the level of care based on the individual aspects of your loved one’s needs. These recommendations will be presented to the court.
It is important for anyone considering filing the Marchman Act to understand that the Marchman Act statute does not provide any articulated consequence for someone who fails to comply with a Marchman Act court order for treatment. However, the Marchman Act is a civil court proceeding that allows one to utilize and implement the Court’s contempt powers as a consequence. Should a respondent not comply with the court order, one can file the necessary pleadings and hold additional court hearings to utilize the court’s contempt power as a consequence for the respondent’s failure to comply. Simply stated, if litigated correctly, the Marchman Act creates consequences for a person continuing to abuse substances where none has existed before. Once a Marchman Act Order is entered by the court, the addict cannot use or abuse substances without having to answer for their behavior and accept the consequences for their actions. The respondent is metaphorically given the keys to the jail. If they are compliant with treatment recommendations, they will never see the inside of a cell. If they are found to be in contempt they can be incarcerated until such time that they are ready to comply with the court’s order. Upon release the respondent must continue to be compliant with the court’s original treatment order or continue to face consequences.