If you have been charged with elder abuse or neglect in Clark County, you need to seek the help of a hard-nosed criminal defense attorney without delay. You can expect the prosecutors to work hard to prove the charges against you. You have the opportunity to present a strong defense to refute the charges. But that takes aggressive action by a knowledgeable lawyer to investigate and gather evidence to build your defense. The Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers of Adras & Altig have a decade of experience defending individuals wrongly accused of assault on the elderly and other elder abuse crimes.
We know that things are not always as they seem, particularly in private households. We know how to gather evidence to build a strong and persuasive defense for you and challenge the unsubstantiated claim. We can act quickly to protect your rights, prevent the harmful exploitation of emotions surrounding elder abuse and neglect, and work aggressively to have charges against you dismissed or reduced.
It is crucial to respond to these types of criminal charges promptly. Contact our Las Vegas elder abuse defense attorneys as soon as possible if an allegation of elder abuse or neglect has been made against you. Our law firm is committed to prompt, responsive action, and we treat every client with the respect he or she deserves. Contact us now for a free initial legal consultation and dedicated legal representation.
What is Criminal Elder Abuse in Las Vegas?
Under Nevada law, intentional harm or neglect that causes physical or mental harm to an older person or a vulnerable person is elder abuse.
Nevada revised statutes define an older person as someone who is 60 years old or older. A vulnerable person is someone who is 18 years old or older who:
- Suffers from a condition of physical or mental incapacitation because of a developmental disability, organic brain damage or mental illness; or
- Has one or more physical or mental limitations that restrict their ability to perform the normal activities of daily living.
Abuse of an elder or vulnerable person is defined as willful and unjustified:
- Infliction of pain, injury or mental anguish.
- Deprivation of food, shelter, clothing or services necessary to maintain the individual’s physical or mental health.
- Exploitation, or obtaining control of or converting the individual’s money, assets or property through deception, intimidation or undue influence with the intention of permanently depriving them of ownership, use, benefit or possession of such money, assets or property.
- Isolation, or willfully, maliciously and intentionally preventing the individual from having contact with another person by preventing them from receiving visitors, mail or telephone calls, or physically restraining the individual to prevent them from meeting with persons who come to visit them.
Neglect of an elder or vulnerable person occurs when a person who has assumed legal responsibility or a contractual obligation for caring for such an individual or who has voluntarily assumed responsibility for their care fails to provide:
- Services necessary to maintain the individual’s physical or mental health.
Many of the actions or omissions that could result in a criminal charge of elder abuse are easily alleged but not so easily proven. Often elder abuse is reported by a third party who has observed or heard something that creates an impression that may be incorrect or misleading, including the alleged victim’s complaints.
Your protestations of innocence in the face of elder abuse allegations may be taken in the wrong way. It is better to protect yourself by obtaining the services of a qualified Las Vegas elder abuse defense attorney as soon as possible. You should decline to answer police questions and ask to speak with an attorney if you are placed under arrest.
Keep in mind that the first official you are questioned by in an unfolding elder abuse case may not be a law enforcement officer. Whatever you say will still likely be recorded and reported if an arrest follows. Cooperate with social workers or others who inquire about the welfare of an elderly or vulnerable person but do not say anything to implicate yourself. As soon as any allegation of criminal wrongdoing is made or there’s any indication of a referral to law enforcement, you should contact a lawyer.
Criminal Charges for Elder Abuse in Las Vegas
Elder abuse under Nevada law is typically a gross misdemeanor on a first offense and a category B felony on subsequent offenses. A gross misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 364 days or a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
Regardless of whether it isthea first offense, if an elderly person or vulnerable individual suffers substantial bodily or mental harm or death due to elder abuse, then the penalty is a category B felony, punishable by imprisonment for a minimum of two years and a maximum of 20 years, unless another statute provides a more severe penalty.
A person charged with elder abuse who has been contracted to care for the alleged victim may be charged with a gross misdemeanor unless a more severe penalty is prescribed by law for the act or omission that caused the abuse or neglect.
Under Nevada law, if the elderly or vulnerable person suffers substantial bodily or mental harm or death, the accused can be charged with a category B felony, which upon conviction, carries a prison sentence of between two years and six years, unless another statute provides a more severe penalty.
Exploitation and isolation of an elderly or vulnerable person carry separate punishments.
For exploitation, unless a more severe penalty is available:
- For assets worth less than $250 or when the value of assets cannot be determined, up to 1 year in prison or a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
- For assets worth at least $250 but not $5,000, 2 to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
- For assets worth $5,000 or more, 2 to 20 years in prison or a fine of up to $25,000, or both.
- For a first offense, imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 364 days or a fine of up to $2,000, or both (gross misdemeanor).
- For subsequent offenses, 2 to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $5,000.
A person convicted of elder abuse may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim.
Clark County, Nevada, prosecutors can be aggressive in cases of elder abuse. This makes it important to speak with one of our experienced Las Vegas elder abuse defense attorneys as soon as possible to protect your rights. Schedule a free consultation with our law office today to get started on your elder abuse defense.
Defenses Available in Elder Abuse Cases
Many elder abuse cases are based on allegations made by a third party after the fact and based on what may be faulty observations and/or reports from the alleged victim. When we take your elder abuse case, we will talk to you to get your side of the story and work to gather the evidence that supports your defense. We will also talk to any witnesses to get their version of what has happened.
The defense in an elder abuse case may be based on such factors as:
- Differing versions of what happened, calling into doubt the charges against you.
- Inability to establish willful intention to harm the elderly or vulnerable person.
- Bodily injury suffered by the elderly or vulnerable person may be the result of an ongoing medical condition.
- Mental anguish reported by the elderly or vulnerable person may be the result of natural age- or disability-related decline.
- Injury resulted from care combined with frailty of the elderly or vulnerable person, such as bruising from the grip necessary to lift, steady or reposition the individual.
- Injury resulted from care prescribed by a licensed medical professional.
- Self-neglect, such as the elderly or vulnerable person refusing to eat, bathe, take medications, etc.
Can You Seal Your Record With an Elder Abuse Charge?
If you have been convicted of elder abuse in Nevada, you may seek to have your record sealed after a prescribed amount of time and as long as there have not been subsequent arrests. This keeps the arrest, charges, conviction, and sentencing information out of background checks for employment and allows you to answer “No” on applications and in interviews that ask about any criminal record.
For a gross misdemeanor, as are most first-offense elder abuse convictions, you may seek to seal the records two years after completing your sentence.
For a Category B felony, typically a second or subsequent offense or elder abuse that resulted in substantial harm or death, you may seek to seal the records five years after completing your sentence.
Sealing records in Nevada is beneficial but a complex process that typically requires legal assistance. The attorneys at Adras & Altig are available to discuss helping you have your records sealed.
If you have been charged with elder abuse in Clark County, Nevada, do not delay in contacting our seasoned Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys. Prosecutors will seek the stiffest sentences possible in cases of elder abuse. Elder abuse carries severe penalties and can cause damaging social stigma.
Our Las Vegas elder abuse defense attorneys will move quickly to protect your rights and defend you. If arrested for elder abuse, do not answer questions without a lawyer present. Contact Adras & Altig as soon as possible. We can provide the vigorous defense you deserve.