Certain crimes in Fort Worth are elevated and carry increased penalties if the alleged victim is an elderly person. Misdemeanor offenses can become felony charges. Owners and managers of assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, and other similar care facilities can also face higher consequences for injurious crimes.
If you are suspected of injury to a child or elderly person, contact our experienced criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC.
Victim’s Age Expands Simple Assault
Texas Penal Code defines an elderly person as 65 years or older. The law also authorizes increased penalties when the victim is a disabled individual or a child of 14 or younger.
Simple assault typically is charged when actions are taken that injure or harm another person. When the victim is elderly, assault can also be charged if the alleged offender took no action even when they were legally obligated to care for the senior.
An injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled person is defined as the following:
A person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, causes to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual:
- Serious bodily injury
- Serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury
- Bodily injury
Injury to an Elderly Person Is a Felony
Causing bodily injury in a simple assault in Texas is generally a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, offenders can be sentenced to up to 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. Merely threatening bodily injury is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500. Potential consequences increase when the alleged perpetrator knew or had reason to know that the victim was at least 65 years old.
All charges for injuries against an elderly individual are felonies.
What prosecutors charge is dependent on the injuries suffered. The crime can range from a state-jail felony up to a first-degree felony. State-jail felonies can be sentenced to up to 2 years in jail (a minimum of 180 days) and fines of up to $10,000. A first-degree felony shall be punished by 5 years to life in prison. A fine of up to $10,000 is also possible.
Mandatory Reporting Requirements
Anyone who is aware of elder abuse and does not report it to the Department of Family and Protective Services can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.
Any form of abuse, neglect, or exploitation against an elderly person is against the law:
- Physical abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Emotional abuse
New Penalties for Financial Abuse
Texas passed a law in 2021 that criminalized financial abuse and exploitation of an elderly person. The penalties for this crime depend on the value of what was taken. A Class B misdemeanor can be charged if the value is less than $100. A first-degree felony can be charged if the value is $150,000 or more.
Legal Counsel for Skilled Defense Strategy
A person accused of any crime against the elderly needs an attorney who looks beyond the surface. At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, we know situations are not always as they immediately appear. We also see people wrongly accused of a crime that is not their fault. Everyone deserves a fair shake in the criminal justice system.Call (817) 497-8148 if you are facing a criminal charge. Initial consultations with us are free.