Baker Act

What is the Baker Act?

Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes is known as the Baker Act or the Florida Mental Health Act. A Baker Act proceeding is a means of providing an individual with emergency service for mental health evaluation (examination) and/or treatment (placement).

Who can petition the court to initiate an Involuntary Baker Act Examination?

Any individual who is of age and who has witnessed the actions of a person and believes that person to be a threat to themselves or others and is willing to give testimony to that, can file a petition for Involuntary Examination.

How do I petition the court for an Involuntary Baker Act Examination?

Appear in person at the Clerk & Comptroller's office to complete a sworn affidavit/petition. Arrive at the office by 3:30 PM to allow time for processing. Provide information as to the respondent’s (person subject to the Baker Act) behavior, identification and location.

What happens after the petition is completed and filed with the clerk?

The clerk initiates a court case. The file is taken to the presiding Magistrate for review. The Magistrate makes a recommendation to the court to grant or deny the petition. If the person meets the criteria for the Baker Act, the judge signs an order granting the petition. Certified copies of the order are delivered to the Warrant’s Division of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The respondent is picked up and taken to the hospital or mental health facility by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office for an evaluation. A person may be held for up to 72 hours for an evaluation. The evaluation may result in authorized staff at the facility petitioning the court for an Involuntary Baker Act Treatment/Placement order. If the order for treatment is granted by the court, the person may be held at the facility for up to 6 months for treatment.

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