08 Dec Elder Abuse Charges Could Land You a Felony
The abuse of an elderly person is a serious crime in Arizona, and it carries felony charges. The punishment for elder abuse can range from 6 months to 25 years in prison, as well as fines, fees, and restitution.
Elder abuse is defined as the abuse or neglect of a person 60 years or older by someone with power over them. It applies to all forms of physical, mental, and financial abuse, as well as neglect. The actions (or inactions) of caretakers, nursing home staff, medical staff, or even family members can constitute elder abuse in the eyes of the law.
Examples of Elder Abuse
- Physical Abuse
Causing intentional injury or physical harm by hitting, smacking or otherwise assaulting an elderly person.
- Sexual Abuse
Forced or non-consensual sexual actions with an elderly person. This includes elders with memory problems who are not legally allowed to grant consent.
- Financial Abuse
The misuse of funds, credit, or other monetary accounts, as well as taking or selling items belonging to an elderly person.
- Emotional Abuse
Intentional acts that inflict mental pain, stress, or fear. This includes cutting the person off from loved ones, using derogatory language or calling them names and belittling them.
Not providing substantial housing, food, clothing, or care. These inactions can lead to illnesses and even death.
Intentionally leaving an elderly person at a hospital, home, or any other place without care or financial support.
Are Adult Abuse and Elder Abuse the Same Thing?
While the Arizona Adult Protective Services takes care of elder abuse cases, it is not their only job. The crime of elder abuse only applies if the victim is 60 years or older. In comparison, adult abuse covers people between the ages of 18 and 60 who have diminished capacity. Adult abuse laws protect people with physical or mental impairments that render them unable to provide for their own basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc.).
What Are the Consequences of Elder Abuse?
Child abuse, adult abuse, and elder abuse all fall under Arizona’s penal code statute ARS 13.3623. The punishments can vary between several felony classes, and may also branch out into other charges. For example, if the abuse was financial, a charge of fraud or theft, rather than abuse, is more likely. However, if a death occurred, the charges would be for murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide.
Breakdown of Possible Felony Punishments
- Class 6
This charge applies when the abusive or criminally negligent actions were likely to cause injury or mental anguish. Punishments range from three months to five years in prison, with fines, fees, and restitution, and possible parole or probation.
- Class 5
When the abusive and reckless actions were likely to cause injury or mental anguish, it is a class 5 felony. Punishments range from six months to seven years in prison, with fines, fees, and restitution, and possible parole or probation.
- Class 4
This charge applies when the abusive actions were likely to cause injury or mental anguish and were done knowingly. It also applies to actions of criminal negligence that could have caused serious injury or death. Punishments range from one year to seven years in prison, with fines, fees, and restitution, and possible parole or probation.
- Class 3
When the abusive and reckless actions were likely to cause severe injury or death, it is a class 3 felony. Punishments range from two years to twenty-five years in prison, with fines, fees, and restitution, and possible probation.
If You’re Facing Felony Charges, You Need a Strong Defense
Felony charges can completely derail your life. A felony on your record can make it more difficult to get a job, impact your housing opportunities, or make you lose access to government services. It can even change your relationships with family and friends.
If you are being charged with elder abuse, you need a good attorney on your side. Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience in the Arizona criminal justice system. It is his belief that every person deserves fair representation. Our firm ensures that every case is given the attention it deserves. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.