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Endangering the Welfare of an Elderly or Disabled Person

New York State has included specific laws in the penal code that protect vulnerable groups of people. This group includes not only the disabled or incompetent by reason of mental or physical impairment, but also those aged 60 or older with a disease associated with old age and are incapable of adequately caring for themselves. The disabled or incompetent person would be someone of any age who is unable to care for themselves due to disability, disease, or defect. If the offense is against someone who is incompetent or disabled, the offense begins as a class A misdemeanor, but if the person is considered to be a vulnerable elderly person or disabled and they are that person’s caretaker, the offense begins as an E felony. Regardless of which degree a person is charged with, the charges can become incredibly serious if not handled correctly. Call now to speak with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys and let us help you navigate the complicated criminal court proceedings.

Beginning with the lower charge, a person has endangered the welfare of an incompetent or disabled person if they have acted recklessly and engaged in conduct that is likely to cause injury to the mental, moral or physical welfare of a person who is unable to care for themselves. As a class A misdemeanor, the court can still order that time be served if convicted. When a person knowingly acts in a way that is likely to cause injury to the welfare of such a person, the offense is now charged as an E felony. The fact that this becomes a felony charge only increases the severity of the offense and the issue of a felony conviction on your criminal record.

If you are the caretaker for a vulnerable elderly person, an incompetent or a physically disabled person and have acted recklessly to cause physical injury, intended to cause a physical injury and have caused such an injury or have caused physical injury to a person by means of a dangerous instrument, such person would be charged with a class E felony. Additionally, this level of the offense applies when the caretaker has subjected the victim to sexual contact without their consent. Consent for the purpose of this law is based on the victim’s lack of capacity to consent to such contact.

The higher degree of this offense is charged when a caretaker for a person described above acts intending to cause injury and causes serious physical injury to such person or has recklessly caused serious physical injury. This level of the offense is charged as a class D felony, meaning that you could be facing up to seven years behind bars if convicted and given the maximum sentence.

As with any criminal charges, these are serious, but you have a right to an attorney who can assist you in court and help you understand the complex proceedings. Call now to speak with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys so that we can begin working on your case.

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