Do I Need A Lawyer?
When seeking help for a loved one in a court of law, an experienced attorney with a complete understanding of the Florida Marchman Act statute can and will increase the possibility of success.
Simply put – the answer is no. A petitioner is not required to be represented by counsel. A pro se petitioner can simply go to the clerk of court in the county where the respondent is located and seek to file the initial forms. A pro se petitioner should then try to become completely versed in how to then proceed and the local court procedures.
However, when seeking help for a loved one in a court of law, an experienced attorney with a complete understanding of the Florida Marchman Act statute as well as the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure can and will increase your success in obtaining assessment, stabilization and treatment for your loved one. An informed client should also be fully aware of the reasons that they are deciding to hire a particular law firm to accomplish their particular legal goal.
When a Marchman Act petition is filed against someone, that person (the respondent) will automatically be appointed a skilled trial attorney to represent them in court at the hearing before the judge. That attorney will be trained in the legal complexities and nuances of the Florida Marchman Act statute and rules of civil procedure. Their sole job is to defend their clients vigorously and must argue to have the petition dismissed by the court for any legitimate legal cause if requested by their client. When a Marchman Act petition is filed against someone, any failure to legally comply with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, either when filing or enforcing the petition, can result in the case being immediately dismissed, or possibly reset until all procedural legal rights are met.
When a Marchman Act petition is filed against someone it could take several weeks (or, more) to have a court hearing scheduled just to hear the facts of the case. When a Marchman Act petition is filed most people do not understand that further hearings and additional pleadings must be filed and acted upon with the court in a timely manner. All hearings and pleadings are subject to court and statutory deadlines. It is the responsibility of the person filing a Marchman Act petition to meet any and all requirements and deadlines. Any failure to do so may end in a dismissal or rescheduling of your case. In cases of dismissal, the process must start over from the very beginning. When dealing with the immediate critical needs of an addicted loved one, families simply cannot risk the possibility of mistake or delay.
Filing and enforcing a Marchman Act petition requires a full time commitment to monitor the case, monitor the respondent’s progress and their complete compliance with treatment.
When a Marchman Act petition is filed by a treatment center or other individuals claiming to have the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of the legal system it is important to understand that they are not trained attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Florida. Further, they are exposing families, the addict and themselves to the significant consequences of failure.
For more information on retaining an experienced attorney please feel free to visit the websites below for law firms involved in the Marchman Act:
http://www.arlshelp.com/ – Addiction Recovery Legal Service
http://levineandassocs.com/ – Levine and Associates