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Children aren’t the only people who are vulnerable to abuse in our society; certain adults also make easy targets for maltreatment.
Minnesota’s Vulnerable Adult Act defines a vulnerable adult as anyone over the age of 18 years old whose disabilities render them dependent on the care of others, including the following:
People with physical, mental or emotional disorders that prevent them from caring for themselves without help or protecting themselves from maltreatment People in the hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility, foster care, board and care homes, transitional care units and similar licensed care facilities People who receive personal care assistance, in-home care, day services or other licensed services
People with disabilities are more likely to experience violence than people without disabilities. In fact, data shows that in 2015, people with disabilities were 2.5 times more likely than non-disabled people to experience violent victimization and three times more likely to experience serious violent crimes (sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery).
The State of Minnesota takes abuse crimes against vulnerable adults seriously. If you’ve been charged with vulnerable adult abuse, you could be facing severe penalties. Keep reading to learn more about abuse crimes against vulnerable adults and why you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner.
At Toepfer at Law, we know that situations are rarely as simple as they seem. If you’ve been charged with a crime and no one is listening to your side of the story, don’t give up—we’re here to take your call. Contact us today at (320) 497-4416.
Adult abuse encompasses a lot more than just physical harm. A better way to think about abuse crimes against vulnerable adults is in terms of maltreatment, which includes the following:
Abuse. Abuse has a number of categories, including physical, emotional or sexual abuse. It can also mean the use of restraints, involuntary seclusion or punishment.
Neglect. Neglect is a lack of basic care. It can include a failure to provide food, clothing, shelter or access to health care. It can also mean a lack of supervision needed to ensure a dependent’s health, safety or comfort.
Financial exploitation. Vulnerable adults often rely on caregivers or family members to manage their finances. Financial exploitation includes theft, withholding money or property from the vulnerable adult or using that adult’s money and property in a way that has no benefit to them.
Charges for abuse crimes against vulnerable adults correspond to the type of abuse suffered. That means a person may be charged with criminal abuse, criminal neglect or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
The punishment for abuse crimes against vulnerable adults will depend on the type and severity of the alleged abuse. Minnesota Statute 609.233 breaks punishments down into categories according to crime.
If criminal abuse results in the death of a vulnerable adult, the accused may face up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $30,000 or both. Inflicting great bodily harm could result in imprisonment for up to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000 or both; substantial bodily harm can mean five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both. In less serious cases, the convicted may face up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $3,000 or both.
Criminal neglect may be considered a gross misdemeanor crime or felony deprivation. If the accused inflicted great bodily harm, they may be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both. If their conduct resulted in substantial bodily harm to the vulnerable person, they may be sentenced to up to five years in prison and be fined up to $5,000.
The penalties for financial exploitation generally depend on the amount of money or the value of the property that was stolen or mishandled. Those who financially exploit a vulnerable person in an amount between $500 and $35,000 dollars could spend between 90 days and 20 years in prison and be subject to fines between $1,000 and $100,000.