Elderly Person Abuse
Abuse of the elderly is a serious criminal offense in Houston. Senior citizens are considered a legally protected class of citizens. This means that criminal actions which target elderly people may be subject to very serious legal penalties.
What Is Elderly Person Abuse?
Any criminal activity that targets a senior citizen and results in some type of harm may be considered abuse of a senior citizen in Houston, Texas. There are several different categories of elderly abuse. They can include physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse and manipulation.
Some elderly people may suffer from mental or physical impairments that make it difficult to recognize when abuse is being committed. Unfortunately, these situations sometimes result in financial abuse or instances of fraud that target senior citizens.
Texas Penalties for Harming the Elderly
Causing physical injury to seniors or financial exploitation of the elderly can both result in drastic legal repercussions. These kinds of crimes can be categorized as misdemeanor offenses or felonies depending on the circumstances of the case. According to the Texas Penal Code, punishments for abuse of the elderly are:
- Class A misdemeanor conviction for abuse not resulting in bodily harm
- Recklessly causing bodily injury could result in a third degree felony charge
- Intentionally causing serious injury could be charged as a first degree felony
First degree felonies may be punished by five to 99 years in prison. A third degree felony charge could be penalized by a sentence of two to 10 years in prison. A Class A misdemeanor conviction could lead to one year in county jail.
Possible Defenses for Geriatric Abuse
Many abuse cases are based on two key evidence groups: eyewitness testimony and medical testimony. Eyewitness testimony is often unreliable and some legal defenses may try to show that certain key witnesses were biased or mistaken. Medical testimony from the prosecution can be countered with medical testimony from the defense. Such testimony may try to show that any injuries sustained by the victim were not the result of abusive actions.