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Endangering the Welfare of an Elderly Person
Under the laws in New York, elder abuse includes physical abuse or financial exploitation. The term "financial exploitation" is defined as the improper use of an adult's funds, property, or resources. Financial exploitation includes the denial of access to assets, coerced property transfers, falsifying records, forgery, embezzlement, false pretenses, and fraud.
Crimes for engaging in a scheme to defraud are charged in the first degree as a class E felony under N.Y. Penal Law § 190.65 when a person engages in a course of conduct with the intent to defraud vulnerable elderly persons.
Criminal Elder Abuse crimes for endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person are charged under:
- in the first degree as a class D felony under N.Y. Penal Law § 260.34;
- in the second degree as a class E felony under N.Y. Penal Law § 260.32;
- in the first degree as a class E felony under N.Y. Penal Law § 260.25; or
- in the second degree as a class A misdemeanor under N.Y. Penal Law § 260.24.
Lack of consent under New York's statute for endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person results from forcible compulsion or incapacity to consent, or any other circumstances in which the vulnerable elderly person does not impliedly or expressly acquiesce in the caregiver's conduct.
Attorney for Endangerment of an Elderly Person in Queens, NY
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner if you have been charged with the offense of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person in New York City including Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, or the Bronx.
Important legal defenses may exist under the particular facts and circumstances of your case. You must act quickly to preserve all avenues of attack so that your attorney can help you aggressively fight the charges.
Statutory Definitions for Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person
New York law defines the term "VULNERABLE ELDERLY PERSON" to mean a person sixty (60) years of age or older who is suffering from a disease or infirmity associated with advanced age and manifested by demonstrable physical, mental or emotional dysfunction to the extent that the person is incapable of adequately providing for his or her own health or personal care.
New York law defines the term "CAREGIVER" to mean a person who assumes responsibility for the care of a vulnerable elderly person pursuant to a court order or receives monetary or other valuable consideration for providing care for a vulnerable elderly person.
New York law defines "SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY" to mean impairment of a person's physical condition which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily organ.
Elements of Elderly Person Endangerment in the First or Second Degree
Under New York Penal Law Section 260.34 the crime of "endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person" is a class D felony in the first degree. The elements of the crime include proving beyond all reasonable doubt that the caregiver:
- acted with intent to cause physical injury to such person, he or she did in fact causes serious physical injury to the elderly person; or
- acted recklessly causing serious physical injury to the elderly person.
Under New York's Penal Law Section 260.32, endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person is a class E felony in the second degree. In a prosecution for endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person the prosecution must prove that the elderly person's caregiver did one of the following:
- acted with the intent to cause physical injury to the elderly person or did in fact cause physical injury;
- acted recklessly in causing the physical injury;
- acted with criminal negligence when he or she caused physical injury by using a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon; or
- subjected the elderly person to sexual conduct without consent.
Endangerment of a Vulnerable Elderly Person by Acting Recklessly
New York law provides that a person acts "RECKLESSLY" with respect to serious physical injury to a vulnerable elderly person when that person:
- engages in conduct that creates or contributes to a substantial and unjustifiable risk that serious physical
injury to a vulnerable elderly person will occur; and
- when he or she is aware of and consciously disregards that risk; and
- when that risk is of such nature and degree that disregard of it constitutes a gross deviation from the
standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.
Many people do not realize that a serious criminal offense can be alleged even when the person accused did not intentionally cause the harm but merely acted recklessly or through criminal negligence. In many of these cases, it is difficult to determine whether the injury resulted from natural causes or just because of an accident as opposed to reckless conduct.
Find a Lawyer for Elder Abuse Accusations in Queens, NY
If you or a loved one has been charged with endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly man or woman, then contact an experienced Queens criminal defense attorney.
Rochelle Berliner has represented the caregivers of elderly persons who have been charged with this serious offense often based on allegations of unintentional but "reckless" conduct. Find out today what you need to do to protect yourself against criminal charges.
Call 718-261-5600 or submit an online form to take advantage of a completely free initial consultation.
This article was last updated on Thursday, March 18, 2021.
Rochelle Berliner grew up in Queens, NY. She started New York Law School in January 1989 and graduated in June 1991. Immediately after law school, she started working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she stayed for approximately 14 years...
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