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What is Elder Abuse in Maryland?

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Have you been arrested or charged with endangering a senior in Maryland? Are you presently under investigation by Adult Protective Services? If so, you need legal representation right away. Maryland is cracking down on crimes against seniors. Many times, crimes against seniors are extremely complicated, and government investigators may not fully appreciate the legal issues involved. If you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime, contact our office today to meet with an attorney and review your options.

Types of Elder Abuse Crimes 

Elder abuse is a broad and often difficult to define topic. For instance, crimes against seniors can fall into several categories:

Physical abuse or assault

Just like anyone, a senior can be assaulted or attacked physically. But given the inherent vulnerabilities associated with aging, abuse can be as simple as shoving, holding someone down, or keeping an older adult from having desired items or personal possessions. It does not have to be violent or extreme in order to qualify as abuse under Maryland law.

Financial abuse and exploitation

Many times, seniors give their adult children or other close relatives or friends access to bank accounts or checkbooks for the purpose of handling their affairs. Sometimes, through otherwise innocent mistakes or poor management and recordkeeping, these individuals may accidentally take funds that don’t belong to them or misuse the senior’s assets. Under Maryland law, this can rise to the level of financial exploitation. These crimes often involve mismanagement of trusts, misuse of powers of attorney or bank accounts.

Psychological abuse

Vulnerable and sometimes incapacitated seniors can be a huge challenge for caregivers. Those who are responsible for providing daily care often become overwhelmed by stress and take it out on the elderly person. Shouting, demeaning, or derogatory remarks are all forms of psychological abuse.

Sexual assault or abuse

It’s not illegal for seniors to have consensual sex. After all, you don’t lose your rights as you age. However, caregivers and those who work closely with seniors are sometimes charged with misusing their position of authority or their access to vulnerable seniors (e.g. those with limited mental capacity due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.) for personal reasons. Sex with a person who lacks the ability to consent is considered rape.

Neglect

If a person is responsible for providing care for a senior and fails to offer basic care and support, it can qualify as neglect.

Fighting Abuse or Neglect Charges 

Some abuse and neglect offenses are civil matters, such as financial disputes over probate, trusts, and bank accounts. However, when there is a specific intent to harm or deprive a senior, the law does afford prosecutors the ability to prosecute people for elder abuse. Maryland law provides strict penalties for those who are convicted of harming seniors.

If you’ve been charged with a crime involving harm, abuse, or neglect to a senior, you need aggressive representation by a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Juries are not sympathetic to those who take advantage or intentionally hurt older adults. Many times, there is a simple mistake or unintentional act that resulted in harm. This may be negligence or even carelessness. But without intent (except in extreme cases), it’s not generally a crime.

It’s crucial that you contact an attorney right away to protect your rights and avoid unnecessary and unjust charges from destroying your life. Call the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. to learn more and get help today.

Resources:

marylandattorneygeneral.gov/CPD%20Documents/Tips-Publications/ModelEmployeeReferenceManual.pdf

dhr.maryland.gov/documents/Brochures/Adult%20Services%20Flyers/20180319-FIA-AS_LookOutAbuse_Flyer_FINAL.pdf

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