Elder abuse can take many forms, from financial exploitation to physical and mental abuse. While the penalties for elder abuse charges can vary by state, there are some guidelines you should consider if facing elder abuse charges in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
The Legal Requirements for Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is a serious problem in the United States, with an estimated 5 million cases occurring yearly. Unfortunately, many of these cases go unreported due to the victim’s fear of retaliation or inability to speak out. If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse, it’s essential to understand the legal options and requirements for filing a claim.
To bring an elder abuse claim in the United States, you must be able to prove that the defendant knowingly and willfully inflicted physical or mental pain or suffering on an elderly person. You will also need to show that the defendant had a duty to care for the victim and that they breached that duty. Depending on the state in which you live, there may be additional requirements.
Suppose you are charged with elder abuse. In that case, it’s important to call an elder abuse attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
Possible Penalties for Elder Abuse
- Penalties for Elder Abuse in Maryland
Elder abuse is a serious problem in the United States, and Maryland is no exception. You could face serious penalties if you are charged with elder abuse in Maryland. This section discusses the possible penalties for an elder abuse conviction in Maryland, USA.
If you are convicted of elder abuse in Maryland, you could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If the victim of elder abuse is 60 years of age or older, the penalties become even more severe, with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition to prison time and fines, you may be sentenced; you will also have a criminal record if you are convicted of elder abuse. This can make it difficult to find employment, housing, and insurance. You may also lose your professional license if you are convicted of elder abuse.
- Penalties for Elder Abuse in Washington
Criminal mistreatment is “the criminal negligence inflicting serious bodily harm by withholding any of the fundamental necessities of life” under Section 9A.42.020 of the Revised Code of Washington.
Charges for criminal maltreatment can be in the first through fourth degrees, with the first degree being the most severe. A Class B felony, first-degree criminal mistreatment, carries a maximum sentence of ten years in jail and a fine of up to $20,000.
You can be permanently prohibited from working with children or vulnerable adults if the inquiry confirms allegations of abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or abandonment.
In Washington State, there are consequences for people who deliberately make false allegations of elder abuse. Anyone who maliciously, intentionally, or in bad faith brings a false claim of abuse, like sexual abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult is guilty of a misdemeanor, as stated in the Revised Code of Washington, Section 74.34.053, violates the law.
Charges of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult can have long-lasting legal, financial, and emotional repercussions; therefore, engaging with a professional criminal defense lawyer is critical. Your legal team can create a solid defense to have the charges against you dropped or your sentence reduced.
- Penalties for Elder Abuse in Virginia
Section 18.2-369 of the Virginia Code outlines the penalties for elder abuse. Anyone who mistreats or disregards an adult who is incapacitated faces these punishments. Anyone over the age of 18 who has a mental illness, mental retardation, physical illness or disability, advanced age, or other causes insofar as they are unable to comprehend, make decisions, communicate, or put into action reasonable decisions regarding their well-being is considered to be an “incapacitated adult.”
Abuse of senior citizens is punishable by:
- A Class 1 misdemeanor is committed by a responsible person who abuses or neglects an adult who is disabled and does not suffer physical harm or disease due to the abuse or neglect.
- A responsible person is guilty of a Class 6 felony if they are found guilty of their second or subsequent crime.
- A Class 4 felony is committed by a responsible person who mistreats or neglects an incompetent adult, resulting in physical damage or illness.
If you or someone you know is facing elder abuse charges, it is crucial to understand the potential penalties. Depending on the severity of the abuse, a conviction could result in a prison sentence, a fine, or both.
If you are convicted of elder abuse, you may also lose your professional license if you have one. In addition, a conviction will likely result in a permanent criminal record, making it difficult to find employment or housing. To avoid these harsh consequences, you want to hire a lawyer.