Injury to an Elderly in Texas | Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person

 In Criminal

What is Injury to an Elderly in Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code Section 22.04, Injury to an Elderly occurs when a person causes injury to person who is 65-years of age or older. There are special provisions that apply to professional caregivers as well. Notably, the offense does not distinguish based on the age of the accused. In other words, if two people get into a fight in a retirement center, one could get charged with injury to an elderly.

What constitutes Injury to an Elderly?

A person can commit Injury to an Elderly by acting:

  • intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence.

A person can commit Injury to Elderly by omission:

  • intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.

The injury caused can be:

  • Seriously bodily injury to an elderly individual, or
  • Serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or
  • Bodily injury.

Injury to Elderly by Caregiver

An owner, operator, or employee of a group home, nursing facility, assisted living facility, intermediate-care facility can be charged with injury to an elderly when:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence by omission causes an elderly person
  • Serious bodily injury; or
  • Serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or
  • Bodily injury.

How is an “Elderly” person defined in Texas?

Texas defines an “elderly individual” as a person 65 years or older. This includes a person who is 65-years-old.  Phillips v. State 753 S.W.2d 813 (Tex. App. Austin 1988, pet. ref’d.).  Also, the person charged does not need to know at the time the person is 65-years-old to be charged with injury to the elderly. Fernandez v. State, No. 13-05-208-CR (Tex. Crim. App. May 24, 2006).

What is Bodily Injury?

In Texas, bodily injury is a physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition. In other words, if the victim says “it hurts,’ that is evidence of bodily injury. There is no requirement for bruising or other visible injuries.

What is Serious Bodily Injury

A serious bodily injury is a bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or something that causes death, a serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function on any bodily member or organ.

What is an Omission for Purposes of Injury to an Elderly?

An omission under Texas law is when a person has a legal or statutory duty to act – for when the person has assumed care of the elderly person. A person assumes care, custody, or control if by some act, words, or course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to conclude the person has accepted responsibility for protection, food, shelter, and medical care for the elderly person.

What offense level is Injury to an Elderly in Texas?

The level of offense depends on the alleged mental state, alleged injury, and in certain circumstances whether the accused was a professional caregiver or not.

First Degree Felony

  • Intentionally or knowingly causes serious bodily injury.
  • Intentionally or knowingly causes serious mental injury.

Second Degree Felony

  • Intentionally or knowingly causes serious bodily injury.
  • Intentionally or knowingly causes serious mental injury.
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury if the victim is disabled and residing in a care center and the accused is employed as a caregiver.

Third Degree Felony

  • Intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury.

State Jail Felony

  • Recklessly causing bodily injury.
  • Negligently causing serious bodily injury.
  • Negligently causing serious mental impairment.
  • Negligently causing bodily injury.
  • A caregiver negligently omitting causing serious bodily injury, serious mental impairment, or bodily injury.

Punishment Ranges for Injury to an Elderly

A first-degree felony in Texas in punishable by 5-99 years in prison as well as a fine up to $10,000. A second-degree felony is punishable by 2-20 years in prison with up to a $10,000 fine. A third-degree felony is punishable by two-10 years with up to a $10,000 fine. A state-jail felony is punishable for 180 days up to two-years confinement in a state jail and up to a $10,000 fine.

Is injury to the elderly a result-oriented crime of circumstance oriented crime?

Injury to an elderly person is a result-oriented crime. See Haggins v. State, 785 S.W.2d 827, 828 (Tex.Crim.App.1990)

Defenses to Injury to an Elderly

There are a number of defenses to injury to an elderly in Texas. Some of them are codified. To learn more about statutory affirmative defenses that apply to injury to an elderly or other defenses that may apply, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

If you have been charged with Injury to an Elderly in north Texas, call us at (817) 203-2220 or contact us using the form below:

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