Stephen Talmadge PHD,JD 

Baker Act Assistance Florida

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Questions & Answers:

Click on of the links below to be dropped down to that questions answer. A short video is included to give help in knowing your legal rights by answeing your questions. Have questions about something not covered on this site? Please fill out our  form at the bottom of this page and we will reach out to you expeditiously!

  • Who can Baker Act me?

  • Where will I go after I'm Baker Acted?

  • ​​​How long can I be kept against my will?

  • Do I have access to my records?

  • ​​Do I have to pay the hospital if I was taken there involuntarily?

  • Do I have any rights while in a mental health facility?

  • Am I entitled to a legal hearing at any point?

  • ​​If I have a hearing, will I have a lawyer's help?

  • Can I own or buy a gun if I’m Baker Acted?

  • Can I clear my record of the Baker Act?

  1. ?

    Where will I go after I'm Baker Acted?
    After medically stable, you will go to a Baker Act receiving facility. That could be a freestanding psychiatric hospital or a unit within a medical hospital. The law mandates that law enforcement take a person to the nearest receiving facility designated by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Hospitals that provide emergency service are not bound by this "nearest facility" law.
  2. ?

    How long can I be kept against my will?
    A Baker Act receiving facility can keep a person for involuntary examination for up to 72 hours. (Longer if a weekend or holiday). If the patient is considered "voluntary" and requests discharge, the facility can legally keep him/her for up to two days (court working days) after the request for discharge. At the end of either (72 hours or two days), the facility must let her/him go, file a petition, or have that person become "voluntary."
  3. ?

    Who can Baker Act me?
    A court, a law enforcement officer, or a physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker.
  4. ?

    Do I have access to my records?
    Yes, but mental health records are very private and getting access is not always easy. Sometimes a lawyer's help is required to get your records.
  5. ?

    Do I have to pay the hospital if I was taken there involuntarily?
    Yes. You are required to pay for services rendered by the facilities and entities involved with your Baker Act stay.
  6. ?

    Do I have any rights while in a mental health facility?
    You have rights that are guaranteed under Florida law. Sometimes, a lawyer's help is required to know and exercise those rights.
  7. ?

    Am I entitled to a legal hearing at any point?
    If the receiving facility submits a petition to the court asking to retain a person longer for treatment, the person is entitled to a legal hearing within 5 days of that petition.
  8. ?

    If I have a hearing, will I have a lawyer's help?
    You are entitled to an attorney. By law, the Public Defender is appointed to represent you and help you. An Assistant Public Defender will represent you regarding the hospital's petition to keep you longer. Assistant Public Defenders vary in the zeal with which they perform this task. The Public Defender will NOT represent you in any other way.
  9. ?

    Can I own or buy a gun if I’m Baker Acted?
    Maybe. It depends on whether you were merely examined and then discharged or committed by a judge after examination and a hearing. After 2012, Florida law mandates that “signing voluntary” to avoid a court hearing does not necessarily mean your firearms rights are not affected.
  10. ?

    Can I clear my record of the Baker Act?
    Baker Acts are civil, not criminal. Florida law does not have a mechanism to expunge or seal civil records.
If you have more questions please contact us
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