The Baker Act refers to a Florida statute that allows for an individual who is 18 years or older to be either voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility, on a temporary basis, if he is deemed to be a threat to himself or to others.
Baker Act Criteria
If an individual has demonstrated, through words or actions, that she is suicidal, that she intends to harm herself or others, or that she is incapable of caring for herself to the point of severe self neglect, the Baker Act--also known as the Florida Mental Health Act of 1971--gives Florida’s law enforcement officers the right to take the individual into protective custody, with or without her consent.
ExParte Petition for Involuntary Examination
If the situation is not being handled by local police officers, a family member or a concerned citizen who has witnessed dangerous or threatening behaviors of an individual can petition their local Florida court for an ExParte Involuntary Examination in order to have the individual in question taken the nearest receiving facility for an emergency mental health evaluation.
An individual who is "Baker Acted" is taken into custody and detained in a Florida mental health facility for a maximum of 72 hours; during this time, his mental health is evaluated by a qualified mental health professional.
Kathleen Tully is a self-taught writer whose skill in communicating effectively via the written word has been appreciated throughout her career as an educator's assistant. Tully writes helpful informational articles that explain in simple terms aspects of U.S. law, health and nutrition topics and practical articles regarding personal care.