If you have been arrested or accused of abusing, exploiting, or neglecting an elderly or disabled person in your care, you need to consult with an experienced, aggressive elder abuse attorney in Raleigh immediately. These charges are accompanied by severe consequences that can include prison time, loss of professional licenses, and damage to your reputation. The outcome of your case relies on having the right defense lawyer by your side.
At Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh, we have over 50 years of experience in criminal law, as both prosecutors and defense attorneys. This gives us a unique insight and ability to defend our clients because we understand methods, tactics, and strategies the State uses to investigate, charge, and try defendants. Our knowledge is paired with a desire to serve our clients with diligence and determination.
Elder Abuse Laws in North Carolina
In North Carolina, elder abuse is outlined in the North Carolina General Statute (N.C.G.S.) 14-32.3. It states that someone is guilty of abuse if they are in a caretaker capacity in a domestic setting and act with malicious intent to “(i) assaults, (ii) fails to provide medical or hygienic care, or (iii) confines or restrains the disabled or elder adult in a place or under a condition that is cruel or unsafe, and as a result of the act or failure to act the disabled or elder adult suffers mental or physical injury.
If the defendant is accused of elder abuse resulting in serious injury, they will be charged with a Class F felony that is punishable by 10 to 59 months in prison. If the alleged victim sustains injury (though not serious), the defendant will be charged with a Class H felony that is punishable by 4 to 39 months in prison.
Neglect of an Elderly or Disabled Person
To be charged with neglect of a disabled or elder adult refers to a caretaker acting with “gross carelessness” to fail to provide medical care, assist with hygiene, or confines or restrains the disabled or elderly adult in an unsafe condition causing physical or mental injury. Neglect of an elderly or disabled person resulting in serious injury, either physical or mental, is a Class G felony carrying a penalty of up 8 to 47 months in prison. Neglect resulting in a non-serious injury is a Class I felony which can carry a penalty of 3 to 24 months.
Who is covered by elder laws?
These laws apply to both elderly adults who are over the age of 60 and unable to fully care for their social, medical, psychiatric, financial, or legal needs, and relies on assistance. They also apply to disabled adults over the age of 18 who are physically or mentally incapacitated and require care.
Who Is considered a Caretaker in Elder Abuse Cases?
This statute refers to a caretaker as any person who is responsible for aspects of the care of an elderly adult or disabled adult. Caretakers can include family members, such as a child or spouse of an elderly person or a parent or sibling of a disabled adult. A caretaker may also be an employee, such as a home health aide or nursing home worker.
The laws only refer to abuse or neglect that occurs in a domestic setting – this is defined as a residential setting, such as the person’s home or a family member’s home or a residential care facility like a nursing home or assisted living location.
Contact an Elder Abuse Attorney in Raleigh
If you are under investigation or have been arrested for elder abuse, you need to act quickly to secure experienced, knowledgeable legal counsel. Injury or neglect of a vulnerable person, such as an elderly or disabled person is taken very seriously in North Carolina. In addition to the lengthy prison sentences outlined above, those convicted will lose their reputation, professional licensing in some cases, and a criminal record that may make it impossible to get a job or rent property.
Instead of facing these charges alone, you need a qualified elder abuse attorney in Raleigh who will work tirelessly on your behalf to fight these charges. Schedule a free consultation with the criminal defense attorneys at Sandman, Finn, and Fitzhugh by filling out our contact form or calling us at (919) 887-8040.