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Court-Ordered Rehab: 8 Facts You Need to Know
When someone has a drug or alcohol addiction, it can be difficult for them to admit they have a problem. Substance abuse can lead to criminal activity, divorce, domestic violence, unemployment, and other negative consequences. Alcohol and drug rehab programs can help individuals overcome addiction and take back control of their lives.
Eight things to know about court-ordered rehab in Florida are:
1. What Is Court-Ordered Rehab?
A person with a drug or alcohol addiction might not voluntarily enter a rehab program. However, a judge can order the person to be involuntarily committed to an inpatient rehab facility in some cases. There are two ways that a judge can order someone to enter a drug or alcohol rehab program in Florida.
2. Court-Ordered Rehab for Criminal Cases
Abusing drugs or alcohol can often lead to criminal charges. A judge may order the person to rehab as part of sentencing for a criminal conviction. For example, instead of sending the person to jail, the judge might order the person to serve their time in a rehab facility.
Judges may use rehab as an alternative to jail when addiction is a factor in criminal activity. However, rehab may not be an option if the person’s crime involved violence or harm to another person.
3. Court-Ordered Involuntary Rehab
It is difficult to watch a loved one go through addiction. Unfortunately, family members can harm themselves and others. Often, a person suffering from addiction cannot see that they need help.
Family members may petition the court under Florida’s Marchman Act for an involuntary assessment under Florida Statute §397.6815. The action is a civil court action instead of a criminal matter.
4. What Is the Marchman Act?
The official title of the Marchman Act is the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act. The Act is designed to help individuals with substance abuse problems receive their treatment.
The law allows the court to admit a person for an addiction assessment involuntarily. It also permits the court to admit a person to a substance abuse treatment facility against their will.
5. Who Can File a Petition Under the Marchman Act?
Only family members or guardians can file a petition under the Marchman Act. Therefore, you can petition to have your spouse, child, parent, or other relatives involuntarily committed for an alcohol and/or drug assessment. In addition, guardians may petition the court for court-ordered rehab for a protected adult or a minor child.
Additionally, the Act provides that three adults with direct knowledge of a person’s substance abuse can petition the court, even though they are not related to the individual. Therefore, three people acting together can seek help for a friend, co-worker, or non-relative who has a drug or alcohol addiction.
6. What Are the Criteria for Court-Ordered Rehab Under the Marchman Act?
The Marchman Act only gives Florida courts jurisdiction to place someone in court-ordered rehab. However, you do not have to be a resident of Florida to be committed for assessment and/or treatment against your will. If you are in Florida when the petition is filed, the court has jurisdiction under the Act to order an involuntary assessment and treatment.
Criteria for a court-ordered assessment include:
The person has lost the ability to control their drug and/or alcohol addiction
The person has caused harm or is likely to cause harm to themselves or others unless they are admitted for assessment
The person’s judgment is impaired so that they cannot appreciate the seriousness of their addiction and that they need treatment
The person cannot make a rational decision regarding their need for care
The person has refused to submit to a substance abuse assessment voluntarily
An additional professional assesses the person. If they believe involuntary treatment is necessary, the judge generally defers to the addiction professional. The treatment period is 90 days, but that time can be extended.
Involuntary treatment does not always require inpatient rehab. In some cases, the person may be ordered to complete outpatient rehab. However, if the person is ordered to receive inpatient treatment and leaves the facility, the police are called to pick up the person and bring them back to the facility.
7. Who Pays for Court-Ordered Rehab in Florida?
The court does not make payment arrangements for court-ordered rehab. The person ordered to rehab is responsible for paying for treatment.
Health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare may cover the cost of court-ordered rehab. In addition, some facilities may make payment arrangements with the family members.
8. Do You Need an Attorney to Petition for Court-Ordered Rehab in Florida?
The Marchant Act does not require you to hire a lawyer to file the petition for involuntary assessment and/or treatment. However, the legal process can be complicated. Furthermore, you must provide evidence proving that the person meets the criteria for involuntary assessment and/or treatment for substance abuse.
Hiring a lawyer can simplify matters. The attorney drafts and files all necessary court documents and argues the case before the judge. Having an experienced lawyer can improve the chance the judge grants the petition for court-ordered rehab.