Texas Laws on Assault on the Elderly
The State of Texas holds a robust culture of respect and care for elders. However, Texan elders face a growing threat every day: assault. Assault is one of the most prevalent forms of physical abuse that commonly happens to more vulnerable groups. These groups include children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.
The elderly are particularly susceptible to assault due to physical frailty, cognitive decline, isolation, and dependence on caregivers. Tragically, assault often occurs behind closed doors, making detection and intervention challenging.
The majority of elderly assault victims are women, though there are cases involving men as well. Older adults without nearby family or friends, and people with disabilities, memory issues, or dementia are most vulnerable.
Assault on the elderly can elevate simple assault charges from misdemeanor to felony offenses.
What Constitutes Assault on the Elderly?
Section 22.04 of the Texas Penal Code addresses injury to an elderly individual. Assault to the elderly is defined by law as deliberately causing serious bodily injury, mental impairment, or bodily harm to an elderly individual through action or omission. In this case, the law defines the “elderly” as a person who is 65 years old or older.
Furthermore, this offense encompasses penalizing an individual not only for their actions but also for their inaction. If that inaction leads to substantial risk of death or injury to an elderly individual, it may be referred to as an “omission”.
To classify this omission as a crime, the individual responsible must have either had a legal obligation to offer care, shelter, food, or medical attention to the elderly person or willingly taken on the role of a caregiver. This can include family members, personal care workers, and care services.
However, certain defenses apply in situations where the defendant was a victim of family violence. Defenses also may apply when there is a relatively small age difference between the defendant and the victim.
Penalties for Assault on the Elderly in Texas
Recklessly or negligently causing bodily injury to an elderly person in Texas can result in a state jail felony offense. Penalties for this can include two years of prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Intentional or knowing bodily injury to an elderly individual may lead to third-degree felony charges. Which can subject you to a sentence of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Certain actions can increase the severity of charges. For example, working at a care facility or a nursing home can elevate the charges. In such cases, the charges may be classified as second- or first-degree felonies. Conviction of these higher-degree felonies may result in lengthy imprisonment and substantial fines.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
If you are charged with assault, you will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can provide you with guidance, assist you, and act as your representative in court. As your attorney, we will thoroughly examine all aspects of your case and conduct investigations into the charges against you.
With this information, we will devise a defense strategy tailored to your specific situation. We will also communicate with the opposing party on your behalf and vigorously defend your rights during court proceedings.
Texas Criminal Defense Group will ensure that you fully understand the potential consequences of a conviction. These may include jail time, fines, or other penalties. Our goal is to minimize any lasting impact these charges may have on your life and future.
Navigating the criminal justice system can be confusing and scary. Therefore, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side can make a significant difference. We will be there to explain the intricacies of the process, present your options clearly, and provide unwavering support throughout. Our efforts will encompass reviewing evidence, obtaining witness statements, and exploring any factors that may strengthen your case.