What Are the Criteria for an Involuntary Exam Under the Baker Act?


Quick Answer

A person receives an involuntary exam under Florida's Baker Act when there is reason to believe that he is mentally ill, and as a result of that illness, he is refusing a voluntary examination, explains the Florida Clerk of Circuit Court. Other criteria for an involuntary exam include the person being unable to determine if an exam is necessary and that without proper care, the person experiences neglect.

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Full Answer

A person who refuses to care for himself, potentially causing harm to his well-being, may also qualify for an involuntary exam, notes the Florida Clerk of Circuit Court. If it is likely for a person to cause harm to himself or others without treatment, he qualifies for an involuntary exam if his recent behavior supports this assumption. If a law enforcement officer believes a person's behavior meets the requirements for an involuntary examination, he can transport the individual to a facility for an evaluation.

An individual can complete an ExParte petition for involuntary examination if he has personally observed a person harming himself or others and is willing to swear to this fact, reports the Florida Clerk of Circuit Court. The observer should complete the petition at the mental health division of the Clerk's office. The person filing the petition must provide appropriate identification.

After filing a petition, the court reviews the petition and the sworn affidavit, according to the Florida Clerk of Circuit Court. If the court believes that the person should receive an involuntary examination, the judge delivers an order for a sheriff to pick up and take the person to the nearest facility. A facility does not hold a person for more than 72 hours.

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