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

In New York there are special laws designed to protect those who are vulnerable. People who are vulnerable encompass children as well as the elderly, those who are mentally incompetent and those who are physically disabled. Under New York Penal Law § 260.34 you could be prosecuted for endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person in the first degree if you are a caregiver, and

  1. With intent to cause physical injury to that person, you cause serious physical injury, or
  2. You recklessly cause that person serious physical injury.
Example

Heather was the caretaker for her 85 year old grandmother, Sara. Heather was really tired of having to take care of Sara and was growing increasingly impatient about having to deal with all of Sara's needs. One day Heather just stopped giving Sara her medication, including her heart medication. Sara ended up having a heart attack. Heather could be charged with endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person since her reckless actions resulted in Sara suffering a serious physical injury.

Related Offenses
  1. Endangering the welfare of a child: New York Penal Law § 260.10
  2. Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 260.24
  3. Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an competent or physically disabled person in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 260.32
Defenses

Under this statute, you can be convicted only if the prosecutor proves that your actions were intentional or reckless. Under New York Penal Law § 15.05(3) you would have acted recklessly if you understand that by acting in a certain manner a particular harm would result, and you decided to behave in that manner anyway. If the elderly person was seriously physically injured but that was not your intention and you did not act recklessly, then you did not violate the statute.

In addition, in order to be convicted under this statute the elderly person must have suffered a serious physical injury and not just a physical injury. A serious physical injury is one that is life-threatening. If the injury is not serious, then a charge of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person in the first degree would not be appropriate.

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.

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

A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person in the first degree when, being a caregiver for a vulnerable elderly person:

  1. With intent to cause physical injury to such person, he or she causes serious physical injury to such person; or
  2. He or she recklessly causes serious physical injury to such person.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are being investigated for endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree it is important that you have experienced representation. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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