Mental Health (Baker Act)

Services available in the Probate Division (Basement Room 5-Courthouse)

The Mental Health area of the Probate department maintains the records on involuntary procedures related to:

  • mental illness
  • developmentally disabled
  • tuberculosis
  • adult protective services
  • substance abuse
  • adjudication of incapacitated persons
  • restoration of capacity for persons having previously been declared incapacitated
  • pre-need guardians

Florida Statues 394.451 short title known as “The Florida Mental Health Act” or “The Baker Act” 

Involuntary Examination Florida Statutes 394.463

Petition for Involuntary Examination may be filed in the Probate Division of the Clerk’s Office at the County Court House, 490 South Commerce Avenue, Sebring, Florida 33870. Involuntary admission to a facility for a person who may be mentally ill (not to exceed 27 hours). Baker Act Form

The following criteria must be met for a person to receive an involuntary examination at a receiving facility: 

A person may be taken to a receiving facility for involuntary examination if there is reason to believe that he or she is mentally ill and because of the mental illness:

(a) the person has refused voluntary examination OR (b) the person is unable to determine whether examination is necessary

(c) Without care or treatment the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself; such neglect or refusal poses a real and present threat of substantial harm to his or her well-being; and it is not apparent that such harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends or provision of other services.

(d) There is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself or others in the near future as evidenced by recent behavior.

The judge reviews the petition. If the Judge grants the petition, the Sheriff’s Department will be given an order to pick up the individual and transport then to the nearest facility for an examination.

•     The individual may be held up to 72 hours for the involuntary


•     At the end of 72 hours one of the following actions must be taken,

      based on the individual needs of the patient:

1.  The patient shall be released (if the individual is no longer in  danger),

2. The patient may stay in the facility on a voluntary basis,

3.   A petition for involuntary placement shall be filled with the court for long term treatment and a hearing for involuntary placement will be scheduled.