ARRESTED? INVESTIGATED? ARRESTADO? INVESTIGADO?
The population is gradually becoming older on average across the U.S., as it is in other advanced countries. The incidence of elder abuse, either in institutions like residential care homes or in the elder’s own home has been on the increase. Elder abuse in Florida is a felony crime with quite severe penalties including a prison sentence. If you work in an institution where elderly residents are cared for, you may find that you are accused of elder abuse. Considering the serious consequences of a conviction for this crime, you will need effective and determined legal representation by a Miami criminal defense attorney.
How elder abuse is defined
It is a criminal offense in Florida, according to Florida statute 825.102, if you have been found causing emotional or physical abuse to an elderly person. The crime is defined by the following:
the victim is 60 or older;
an intentional act of physical or psychological harm inflicted on an elderly person;
an intentional act with the expectation of physical or psychological injury to an elderly person;
encouraging someone else to inflict physical or psychological harm on an elderly person.
The degree of severity is determined by the extent of any harm done to the elderly person. If there is nothing visible that can be detected, then the crime may be a third degree felony. If physical harm is detected, then the crime may be considered a first degree felony.
Penalties for elder abuse
If you have been convicted of elder abuse, the penalties include both imprisonment in a state prison, as well as a fine. For a third degree felony elder abuse conviction you can expect up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. For a first degree felony conviction, you could face up to 30 years in a state prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Prosecutors, as well as society in general, and juries, tend to take a dim view of elder abuse, and any alleged victim of elder abuse is often viewed very sympathetically. This makes defending anyone accused of this crime particularly difficult. Both the police and Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs are involved in investigating possible cases of abuse or neglect and laying charges.
There are related crimes in Florida which either involve abuse or neglect of elderly people or the disabled. For example, aggravated elder neglect is defined as the deliberate neglect of an elderly person leading to their psychological or physical harm. It is a second degree felony charge and can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
There are also other offenses, such as abuse of a disabled person, defined as a person aged between18 and 61, which come under the same statute as elder abuse. There are also offenses related to financial abuse of an elder. It is a second degree felony if it can be proved that you have obtained between $20,000 and $100,000 from an elder and a first degree felony if the amount taken is more than $100,000.
It is recommended that you have a criminal defense attorney representing you if accused of elder abuse
Elder abuse or neglect are very serious crimes in this state. You cannot risk losing your job, your freedom, or your future because of a crime you did not commit or because there is insufficient evidence that you committed it. Contact Albert Quirantes, Miami criminal defense attorney as soon as possible at 305-644-1800.