Mental Health

Baker Act

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 a 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 Probate Department located in the Seminole County Civil Courthouse, 301 N. Park Ave, Sanford, FL, 32771.  The petition can be filed by a person (s) who has firsthand knowledge of the situation.  There is no 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.

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.

Marchman Act

The Marchman Act provides emergency services and temporary detention for substance abuse evaluation for individuals in need.  These Petitions are called Petition for Involuntary Admission for Assessment and Stabilization (IAAS) and Petition for Involuntary Services (IS).

A Petition for IAAS may be filed when there is reason to believe that a person is substance-abuse impaired and:

  • Has lost the power of self-control.
  • Is incapable of realizing the need for, and unable to make a rational decision about substance abuse services
  • Has inflicted, attempted or threatened to inflict or, unless admitted to a facility, is likely to inflict physical harm on himself/herself or another.

A Petition for IS may be filed after the individual is accessed and is determined to be in need of substance abuse services.

The Petitions may be filed by the following:  Spouse, Legal Guardian, Any Relative, Private Practitioner, Director of licensed service provider or the Director’s Designee, and an Adult who has direct personal knowledge of the respondent’s substance abuse impairment.

In the case of a minor, only the parents, legal guardian, legal custodian, or licensed service provider can file a Petition.

The Order of IAAS will be issued if the Court finds the criteria have been met.  The Court may order the Sheriff to transport the person to the designated facility for assessment.

Once the Petition for IS if filed, a hearing date is set and the patient is summoned to appear.  The Court will determine if treatment is needed and if the Order for IS is warranted.

Petitions may be filed Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm at the Clerk of the Court Probate Department located in the Seminole County Courthouse, 301 N. Park Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

For further information, you may contact the Clerk’s Office at (407)665-4328.

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.

Injunction for Protection: Vulnerable Adult

Who is a Vulnerable Adult?

A vulnerable adult is an adult with an impaired ability to perform normal activities of daily living or provide for their own care or protection.  It is also an adult who has an impairment due to a disability (mental, emotional, sensory, long-term physical or developmental), brain damage, or infirmities of aging.

What constitutes Exploitation?

  • A vulnerable adult deprived of their funds or property
  • A vulnerable adult with diminished capacity deprived of their funds or property
  • A vulnerable adult who has had a breach of fiduciary.
  • A vulnerable adult who has had a bank account misused.
  • A vulnerable adult who has had not had their necessities provided.

Who may file a Petition?

  • A vulnerable adult in imminent danger of being exploited.
  • The guardian of a vulnerable adult who is in imminent danger of being exploited.
  • A person or organization acting with the consent of the vulnerable adult, or his or her guardian.
  • A person who simultaneously files a petition for determination of incapacity and appointment of an emergency temporary guardian with respect to the vulnerable adult.

NOTE:  If a guardianship is pending, the Petition must be filed in that case; otherwise, it must be filed in the circuit where the vulnerable adult resides.

Petitions may be filed Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm at the Clerk of the Court Probate Department located in the Seminole County Courthouse, 301 N. Park Ave, Sanford, FL 32771.

For further information, you may contact the Clerk’s Office at (407)665-4328.