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Mental Health

Baker Act

Per Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes, the Baker Act provides for a process to obtain an ex-parte court order for the involuntary examination of an individual if there is a reason to believe that a person is mentally ill and because of his or her mental illness and the following conditions are met:

  • The person has refused voluntary examination and/or is unable to determine whether an examination is necessary.
  • The person is likely to suffer from neglect and the refusal could threaten his or her well-being, and
  • If there is substantial likelihood that without care or treatment, the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself or herself or others in the near future as evidenced by recent behavior.

A petition and Affidavit Seeking Ex-Parte Requiring Involuntary Examination may be obtained and filed in the Probate Department located in the Suwannee County Courthouse, 200 South Ohio Avenue, Live Oak, FL, 32064.  The petition can be filed by a person (s) who has firsthand knowledge of the situation.  There is no cost to file the petition.

A judge will review the petition and, if the petition is granted, a pick-up order is issued for examination and is provided to the Sheriff’s Office for service on the respondent.

Note: Ex-Parte proceedings are not appropriate when the person is already in the custody of law enforcement and can be evaluated by trained personnel.


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