The Marchman Act is a Florida Statute that provides for the voluntary or involuntary commitment of a person for a substance abuse assessment. The Petition asking the Court to force a person to be assessed must show that there are good faith reasons to believe that:  (1) the person is substance abuse impaired, (2) because of such impairment, the person has lost the power of self-control with respect to substances, and (3) either the (a) person has inflicted or is likely to inflict physical harm on himself/herself or others or (b) the person’s judgment has been so impaired because of substance abuse that the person is incapable of appreciating the need for substance abuse services and to make rational decisions about their need for substance abuse services. If the person has previously refused to submit to substance abuse assessment and treatment, that should be stated in the Petition.

A Marchman Act petition may be filed by person’s spouse, guardian, relative, a private practitioner, the director of a licensed service provider, or any person with personal knowledge of the person’s substance abuse impairment and course of prior treatment.  If the appropriate documents are filed with the Clerk of Court, a Judge may issue an Order directing the Sheriff to take the person for an involuntary substance abuse assessment or schedule the matter for a hearing. Once the assessment has been completed, a different petition must be filed with the Court requesting the Court to order the substance abuse treatment.  The treatment may be outpatient or inpatient, depending on what the assessment recommends and what the Judge determines is appropriate. An individual can be detained pursuant to a court order for failing to submit to assessments and/or treatment.