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What are the steps to getting the Marchman initiated?


The petitioner will go to the 13th judicial County Court located at 800 East Twiggs Street, Tampa, FL 33602 Room 205 to complete the petition.  The office is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 am-5:00 pm. Once the petition is completed, the judge will either issue a pick-up order or will set a court date to hear evidence about the petition.  If the judge grants the petition, the respondent will have an assessment completed at AARF or JARF.  After the assessment is completed, the petitioner will be notified and a treatment petition can be filed, if the petitioner chooses.  Once the treatment petition has been filed, the judge will set a court date within five days.  If the judge orders treatment, the respondent will be given instructions on how to engage in treatment.


What information should I put in the petition?


The petition should be as specific as possible.  Please include information about the type and amount of substances that the respondent uses and their symptoms of use (loss of job, slurred speech, etc.).  The information should be specific to dates and first-hand knowledge of substance use.  Please include information such as previous treatment episodes, hospitalizations because of substance use, mental health diagnoses, and treatment. 


Who is responsible to pay for treatment?


The respondent and petitioner are responsible for paying for treatment, however, there are some county funds available to supplement the cost of treatment. Most treatment providers that are used in this court use a sliding scale fee.  This means that the respondent will have to provide paycheck stubs and proof of income and fees can be reduced due to financial necessity.  


Does the petitioner have to come to court?


The petitioner must come to court for the assessment hearing and the treatment hearing.  In addition, if the respondent is noncompliant, the petitioner will need to appear to testify about problems that are occurring with the respondent.  However, if the respondent is compliant and is engaged in treatment, the petitioner DOES NOT need to appear in court.  The petitioner can contact their designated Drug Court Specialist to find out if court appearance are mandated.


What happens if the respondent is noncompliant?


If the respondent is noncompliant (for example petitioner reports of continued use, missing groups, missing drug screens, or positive UDS), the judge will set a court date, known as an “Order to Show Cause,” in which the respondent will be subpoenaed to appear in court.  After hearing all evidence in the case, the judge will make a ruling and can find the respondent in contempt of court for violating the court order. The judge has the authority to incarcerate the respondent for 5 months and 29 days if they are found in contempt of court.