Marchman Act in Okaloosa County, FL for Obtaining Court Ordered Addiction Recovery
The Marchman Act Process in Okaloosa County:
In Okaloosa County the Marchman Act process is started by filing a Request for Assessment and Stabilization (Detox) Petition and/or Treatment. Once the court has reviewed this petition, either through an Ex Parte process (no hearing required) or an actual hearing before the court, a court order may be entered. The determination of whether there will be an initial hearing or an Ex Parte review by the court is a strategic decision made between The Client and ARLS. The Respondent may be court ordered to immediately go to a Okaloosa County government funded facility that has been pre-determined for completion of the assessment/stabilization/detox or be picked up by the law enforcement and delivered by them to the nearest Okaloosa County government funded facility as ordered by the court for assessment / stabilization / detox. Following assessment/stabilization/detox, the Okaloosa County facility will render their assessment and make a recommendation for treatment to the court. Generally court officials cannot dictate the level of care and have no influence on the level of treatment or type of treatment the Respondent will receive. The trained professionals base their treatment recommendation and the level of care based on the Respondent’s needs. Typically, treatment is Outpatient, Day-treatment, Intensive Outpatient Treatment and/or Residential.
The next step in the Marchman Act process is the filing a Treatment Petition (if one has not previously been filed and is warranted). The Okaloosa County circuit court judge will review this petition and the treatment recommendation by the clinician, to decide whether to order the Respondent to comply with this recommendation. If the Okaloosa County circuit court orders treatment, the order will be in place for a period of sixty (60) days. If the Respondent voluntarily enters treatment prior to the treatment petition being granted ARLS will request to schedule a status of the case for the Respondent to appear before the Court within 2-4 weeks. Should the Respondent still be compliant with treatment at that time – another status can be requested by ARLS. In essence, even though a treatment order has not been granted, the Respondent will recognize the possibility of said order being entered in the future for any failure to remain in treatment. If a treatment order has been entered and the Respondent is non-compliant in any way, ARLS will file a Rule to Show Cause with the court and bring the Respondent before the Judge for violating the court order and seek sanctions. Generally, the judge will have a hearing, and if proven, give the Respondent one more opportunity to return to treatment and comply with the court order to avoid incarceration. Should the respondent yet again fail to comply with the court order they will be found in civil contempt and possibly incarcerated until they are ready to return to treatment. It is important to note, serving time for contempt does not invalidate the existence or duration of the original order for treatment. The Respondent must continue treatment pursuant to the original order subsequent to being released from custody.
Although the Respondent is recommended at one particular level of care during the assessment the clinicians may increase or decrease the level of care at any time. Often, a Respondent, based on their participation (or, lack thereof) may start at one level of care, but subsequently need a higher or lower level of care based upon their participation in the treatment process – this is not uncommon and should be expected. ARLS will monitor the Respondent and bring the Respondent before the Okaloosa County circuit court Judge as many times as necessary to force the Respondent to comply with the treatment recommendations during the sixty (60) day period. Prior to the end of the 60 day treatment period, should the Respondent still meet Marchman Act criteria, based on a medical professionals recommendation, an extension can be filed for up to an additional ninety (90) days. Although ARLS and the court cannot dictate the level of care, they are able to enforce the court order so that the Respondent receives the treatment they need during the court ordered period.
Medical Confidentiality in Okaloosa County:
Federal HIPAA Law and the rules of confidentiality are very strict and can be frustrating for The Client when the Respondent refuses to sign a release and of information. The Client will undoubtedly be frustrated when a Okaloosa County treatment facility is unable to answer questions regarding the respondent’s treatment due to a consent not being signed. To ensure continued enforcement, ARLS will request the court order the treatment provider to testify in support of any necessary motions or petitions pending before the court.
Note: Although the Okaloosa County treatment facility cannot disclose information without a release of information or court order, this does not stop ARLS from returning to court if The Client observes that the Respondent is failing to comply with treatment, or, has relapsed.
Confidentiality of Court Proceedings in Okaloosa County:
In many counties throughout the State of Florida, Marchman Act proceedings are deemed confidential by local administrative order. However, in some counties various legal pleadings must be filed to request that the court protect and make confidential these proceedings. Regardless, in Okaloosa County ARLS will file all necessary legal pleadings to request that the information contained in the Marchman Act litigation is deemed confidential.
Ex-Parte Petitions in Okaloosa County:
An Ex-Parte Petition requests the court to enter an order having the Respondent involuntarily placed into assessment/stabilization/detox without a hearing based solely on the information in the petition. If granted, a judge will order the Respondent to be picked up and delivered to the pre-determined Okaloosa County government facility for assessment, stabilization and/or detox. The pick-up order will be execute by law enforcement. Typically within, twenty-four (24) to forty-eight (48) hours after filing, the Respondent will be picked up and taken to the detox facility, unless the Respondent flees or evades law enforcement. It is very important the Respondent have no knowledge of the proceedings to maximize success.
Non-compliant Respondents and Contempt of Court in Okaloosa County:
The reason you are seeking assistance through the Marchman Act is because you have someone in your life that refuses to enter treatment or repeatedly leaves treatment against medical advice and continues to abuse substances without any consequence. The Marchman Act does not provide any articulated consequence for failure to comply with a Okaloosa County court order. However the Marchman Act is a civil court preceding that allows the attorneys at ARLS to utilized and implement the Court’s contempt powers. Should a Respondent not comply with the Okaloosa County court order, ARLS will file the necessary pleadings and hold additional court hearings to utilize the court’s contempt powers as a consequence for the Respondent’s failure to comply. ARLS creates consequences for abusing substances where none has existed before.
Service of Process in Okaloosa County:
The Marchman Act is a civil procedure (not criminal). Accordingly, a Respondent has the right to be noticed of any court proceeding and a right to appear. The Respondent has the right to know the time, date, allegations and specific location of a hearing. The Respondent can choose not to attend the hearing, but must be noticed properly regardless. A hearing in Okaloosa County court house may take place without the Respondent being present, if proper service has been met and is demonstrated to the court. There are two manners of service: (1) service by a law enforcement officer of Okaloosa County, or, (2) by private process server. ARLS recommends that The Client pays to have private service of process arranged through ARLS to best coordinate the time and place for the Respondent to be served. A law enforcement officer from Okaloosa County will serve the Respondent at their discretion and outside the control of ARLS. If the officer arrives, and the Respondent not present, service will not be effectuated. This will ultimately result in delaying all legal proceedings. ARLS, through the use of private process service, will coordinate and ensure proper service resulting in no delay.
How long will it take to get a Marchman Act hearing in Okaloosa County?
The law provides time frames that the court system needs to adhere to upon filing. Within ten (10) days of filing of the petition a hearing must be held or a decision be made ex-parte. ARLS will do everything in our power to expedite all hearings in Okaloosa County. It is important for The Client to understand that ARLS has no control over the clerk or court system. ARLS will work diligently with the Okaloosa County court system to ensure that the law is followed in its entirety.
Does the Respondent need an attorney in Okaloosa County?
The Respondent, by statute, has the right to an attorney at every stage of the proceedings. A court appointed attorney will be available to the Respondent in Okaloosa County, if they are unable to obtain counsel due to financial reasons. The Respondent does have the right to hire a private attorney.
Can the Marchman act be filed again in Okaloosa County once exhausted?
Yes.The Marchman Act can be filed as many times as is necessary in Okaloosa County. However, ARLS is required by law to begin a new process for each filing. Fees and services would be incurred for any new proceeding in the future if warranted.
Communication with ARLS from Okaloosa County:
ARLS operates throughout the State of Florida and has your best interests in mind. Our office works as a team to make sure the process runs smoothly for everyone. Your calls are extremely important. We do appreciate your understanding when we are not able to take your call immediately. Your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Who does ARLS Represent in Okaloosa County?
The attorneys at ARLS have lectured at many hospitals, to doctors, substance abuse professionals and treatment providers. ARLS has no formal financial relationship with any substance abuse providers or Okaloosa County government facility. We represent you – The Client.
Private Treatment Programs vs. Indigent Treatment Programs in Okaloosa County:
Substance abuse treatment is either paid for privately (cash) or through pre-existing, personal insurance plans. If neither the Respondent nor the Client has the ability to pay for treatment, the only treatment alternative is typically the use of a Okaloosa County government funded indigent program. The Client must recognize that the use of any treatment program that is not paid for privately or through insurance typically results in a delay of the Marchman Act process. Okaloosa County government funded treatment programs typically have limited bed availability and treatment capacity, which may result in the Respondent being placed on a waiting list for a bed for detox or residential treatment. ARLS will enforce compliance by the Respondent of the rules and regulations of the Okaloosa County government run program, while waiting for an available bed. However, The Client must recognize that any delay in providing immediate treatment influences the chances for immediate success. Should The Client have the ability to pay for treatment privately (cash) or utilize insurance, ARLS will present this alternative treatment option to the Respondent as an alternative to the potential delays of an indigent based treatment program.