New York Penal Law § 260.25: Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree

In New York there are special laws designed to protect those who are vulnerable. While most of these laws focus on protecting children there are also laws that are meant to protect those who are incompetent or physically disabled. Under New York Penal Law § 260.25 you could be prosecuted for endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree if you knowingly engage in conduct which is likely to physically, mentally, or morally injure a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of a physical disability, or due to a mental disease or defect.

It is important to note that the difference between first and second degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person is that the second degree charge requires that the conduct must be reckless while the first degree charge requires that the conduct must be knowing.

Example

Sally was in a terrible car accident that left her paralyzed from the neck down. As a result of the paralysis she suffers from many different medical problems and relies on medication. Laura is Sally's caretaker. Laura feels bad for Sally's condition and feels that Sally would be better off if she passed away. Laura started to withhold some of Sally's medication. It came to the attention of Sally's daughter that Sally's condition was deteriorating. The daughter rushed Sally to the hospital where the doctor's discovered that she had not been taking her medications. Laura could be charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree as she knew that withholding Sally's medication would cause her physical injury.

Related Offenses
  1. Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 260.24
  2. 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
  3. Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an competent or physically disabled person in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 260.34
Defenses

Under this statute, you can be convicted only if the prosecutor proves that you acted "knowingly." Under New York Penal Law § 15.05(2) you would have acted knowingly if you are aware that by acting in a certain manner a particular harm would result, and you decide to behave in that manner anyway. If your conduct was accidental and not due to behavior that could be described as "knowing," then you have a defense to the charge.

Sentence

Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree is a class E felony. If you are convicted your sentence may include up to 4 years in prison, a probation term of 5 years, and a substantial fine.

New York Penal Law § 260.25: Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person first degree

A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree when he knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree is a felony. This means that if you are convicted you could be sent to prison. For this reason it is important that you have experienced representation as early in your case as possible. 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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