Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree: NY Penal Law § 260.34

by ECL Writer
Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree

In New York, specific legislation is in place to safeguard individuals in vulnerable situations. Vulnerable individuals include children, the elderly, those with mental incapacity, and those with physical disabilities. According to New York Penal Law § 260.34, caregivers can face prosecution for endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person in the first degree if they:

  • Intentionally inflict severe physical harm upon the individual.
  • Recklessly cause the individual to sustain serious physical injury.

Sentence

Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree is a class D felony. If you are convicted your sentence may include up to 7 years in prison, a probation term of 5 years, and a substantial fine.

Defenses

This statute requires that a conviction can only occur if the prosecutor can establish that your actions were either intentional or reckless. As per New York Penal Law § 15.05(3), your conduct is considered reckless if you comprehend that a specific harm would result from your actions and yet choose to proceed with those actions regardless. If the elderly person sustained a serious physical injury, but this outcome was not your deliberate intention, and you did not act recklessly, then you would not be in violation of the statute.

Furthermore, for a conviction under this statute to take place, it is essential that the elderly person has suffered a serious physical injury rather than just a physical injury. A serious physical injury is one that poses a life-threatening risk. If the injury does not meet this threshold of seriousness, a charge of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person in the first degree would not be warranted.

New York Penal Law § 260.34: Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person first degree

An individual can be charged with endangering the well-being of a vulnerable elderly person in the first degree if, in the capacity of a caregiver for such a person, they:

  • Deliberately inflict severe physical harm on the vulnerable elderly person.
  • Recklessly cause the vulnerable elderly person to sustain serious physical injury.

Related Offenses

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