Click on the logos below to view our ratings:


Each lawyer in this firm has more than 25 years experience practicing criminal defense in Gainesville, Florida and surrounding areas, including Alachua, Levy, Bradford, Union and Gilchrist Counties.

(352) 378-1107

1800 N. Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32609
Fax (352) 378-0103
Visa / MC Acceptedcredit

Substance Abuse

(Marchman Act)

The Florida Marchman Act is a civil procedure that allows the friends or family of a substance abuser to confidentially petition the court to obtain confidential court ordered assessment, stabilization and treatment. Substance abuse or addiction can involve alcohol and/or prescription drugs like hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g. Oxycontin),  benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax/Valium).  Substance abuse and addiction may also involve non-prescription drugs like MDMA (e.g. Ecstasy), LSD, heroin and/or different forms of cocaine (e.g. crack/powder).

Based upon a Marchman Act petition, the court can issue an order that requires an impaired individual to enter into a drug and alcohol assessment, stabilization and/or treatment program. The key to this court order is that the impaired individual must comply with the court ordered drug and alcohol, assessment, stabilization and treatment or face consequences.

Under the Florida Marchman Act, a substance abuser cannot refuse help once a court order is issued. The possible sanctions imposed for violating the court order create a significant consequence for refusal to comply with treatment. This is true even if the individual has refused to voluntarily get help in the past for their substance abuse problem.

The initial hearing can serve as an important intervention tool. Should an individual’s substance abuse problem create an immediate danger to themselves or others it is possible to obtain an emergency order to immediately deliver the individual to a licensed facility for assessment, detox and stabilization. An emergency order can, in some circumstances, be entered without a hearing ever being initially held.

The subject of a Marchman Act proceeding is often referred to as the “respondent”.  Marchman Act proceedings necessarily impose upon the freedom of an individual respondent that is the subject of a Petition for Involuntary Assessment or Treatment.   While most petitioners may be well meaning in their efforts to force involuntary treatment upon an individual, there are circumstances where such efforts may be denied by the Court.  If you are a respondent in a Marchman Act petition it is imperative that legal counsel be retained as soon as possible to represent your interests.  Once an order of involuntary treatment is entered it is very difficult to obtain prompt relief through the court system.  Even if immediate relief from an order of involuntary commitment can not be attained, there will be periodic reviews of the order and legal counsel may be able to secure one’s freedom at any one of the statutory required periodic court review hearings depending on the circumstances of each individual case.

The lawyers at DeThomasis and Buchanan are capable of representing the interests of a petitioner for involuntary substance abuse treatment or a respondent to such a petition.  We can not legally represent both the petitioner and the respondent in the same court proceedings.  If you are looking for an experienced Marchman Act lawyer contact a lawyer at DeThomasis & Buchanan today.