1. Home
  2.  | Baker Act
A balancing act.

Protect the rights and interests of someone
with a potential mental illness.

The Baker Act.

Protecting the rights and interests of someone with a potential mental illness and addressing legitimate concerns of their family members is often a balancing act. Loved ones are naturally concerned – and sometimes desperate to help – when a member of the family is suicidal or demonstrates other troubling symptoms of mental illness. On the other side of the coin, if someone close to you has tried to have you evaluated for mental illness against your will, you may wonder how to stand up for your rights.
Answers to both dilemmas in Florida can be found in the Baker Act, a state law passed in 1972. This law allows for involuntary incarceration in a mental health facility for evaluation and treatment if an appropriate authority determines that the person is at risk of harming themselves or others. The law also provides for the appointment of legal counsel for people targeted for involuntary placement in a mental health facility for evaluation and treatment.

Legal help involving
your rights.

The Gufford Law Firm, P.A., is a trusted resource for family members as well as for people who have been (or are about to be) involuntarily committed for mental health evaluation. Our lawyers can help you act prudently on behalf of your loved one who appears to have had psychotic episodes or other manifestations of mental illness.

Likewise, if you or a loved one is under a threat of involuntary commitment to a mental health facility, we can intervene to prevent unwarranted mental health evaluations without consent and secure release of the detained person if that is appropriate.

Protecting your rights

Our lawyers are knowledgeable in all facets of the Baker Act and can protect you or your loved one accordingly. For example, we can ensure that a person with a mental illness is not jailed unless they have been charged with a crime.

Joseph Lafayette Gufford and Dog

Attorney Joe Gufford with his dog Roxy

We are here to protect your rights and your loved one’s safety.

The balancing act.

In the words of former state representative Maxine Baker, who sponsored the Baker Act, this law was needed because, “In the name of mental health, we deprive [people] of their most precious possession – liberty.” Just as lawmakers who passed this act into law in 1972 were determined to protect Floridians’ rights and freedom, our attorneys, are, too. Let us hear about your drug-related or mental health-related emergency and guide you to the most favorable outcome, such as:
  • An appropriate evaluation and treatment for someone in distress because of a mental illness.
  • Protection from inappropriate mental health evaluations without consent.