How Do You Use the Baker Act on Someone?


Quick Answer

The Baker Act is used when an interested person files a petition to involuntarily institutionalize a person believed to be a threat to themselves or others as a result of mental illness, states Okeechobee County Clerk of Circuit Court. The Baker Act is limited to the state of Florida.

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Full Answer

Once documentation has been completed and submitted to the Clerk's Office a judge may enter an "ex parte" order for the person in question to be picked up by a law enforcement officer and transported to the nearest facility for a mental health examination, diagnosis and treatment if needed, as stated by Okeechobee County Clerk of Circuit Court. Patients cannot be detained involuntarily for more than 72 hours. Patients may also admit themselves to a facility voluntarily or a parent may admit a minor, according to Escambia County Clerk of Circuit Court.

Also known as the Florida Mental Health Act, the Baker Act is named after Maxine Baker, Florida State Representative and chairperson on the House Committee on Mental Health, who sponsored the act in 1972, according to University of Florida Health. The Act is intended to provide emergency services, temporary detention for evaluation, and comprehensive treatment for persons that meet criteria, as stated by 2014 Florida Statutes.

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