Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes is known as "The Baker Act" and as "The Florida Mental Health Act". A Baker Act proceeding is a means of providing an individual with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment, either on a voluntary or involuntary basis.
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A voluntary Baker Act admission occurs when a person 18 years of age or older, or a parent of a minor, applies for admission to a facility for observation, diagnosis, and treatment.
An involuntary Baker Act admission occurs upon a finding by a court that:
A person who has personal knowledge of the behavior of the individual, should give sworn testimony. The individual believed to be suffering from mental illness should be in Escambia County. The petitioner(s) must have observed the behavior and must have talked to the individual about obtaining a voluntary examination within a few days. Petitions should be filed with Escambia County Clerk of Court, Probate Division, 190 W. Government St., Pensacola FL 32502.
The order will be sent to the Warrants Division of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, which will take the person into custody and to a receiving facility. Receiving Facilities for our area can be found in this list provided by the Florida Department of Children and Families. The person is examined at the facility and the staff and doctors there determine any further action.
A person may not be held for more than 72 hours.
Florida's Baker Act Law is located in Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes.