Due to the special protections that have been put into place in order to protect the especially vulnerable in New York, a person can be held liable for the mistreatment of any elderly or physically disabled people that have been put into their care.
In order for someone to be charged with endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree, it must be proven that a caregiver either intended to cause the person in their care physical injury, recklessly caused the person in their care physical injury, caused a person physical injury with a deadly weapon as a result of negligence, or subjected the person in their care to sexual conduct.
Example of Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Person in the Second Degree
One of the most straightforward examples of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree, is when a caregiver does not provide adequate nutrition to the person in their care. There have been plenty of cases in the past in which a vulnerable person was either denied food or their medication by their caregiver.
Similarly, if a vulnerable person is abused sexually by their caregiver, then this would also qualify as endangering their welfare in the second degree. In general, this statute is designed to protect people from being abused or otherwise mistreated by their caregiver.
Defending Against Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Person in the Second Degree
In order for someone to be convicted of endangering a vulnerable person’s welfare in the second degree, the prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant’s actions were either intentional or reckless. The New York Penal Law defines reckless behavior as any behavior that could be understood to potentially result in physical harm. If the defendant understood that their behavior could result in someone being hurt, and chose to act in that manner anyway, then they could be said to have acted recklessly.
On the other hand, a NYC criminal lawyer can be helpful in proving that a caregiver did not actually behave recklessly, and that any harm sustained by the vulnerable person was outside the bounds of reasonable expectations. In this case, the statute would not apply, as the caregiver did not behave either intentionally or recklessly.
Sentencing for Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Person in the Second Degree
Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable person in the second degree is considered to be a class E felony, which means that someone convicted of the charge could potentially face up to four years of prison time. Aside from a lengthy prison sentence, those convicted of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable person in the second degree could also potentially be forced to spend up to five years on probation. Finally, someone convicted of this charge could also be forced to pay a sizeable fine.
Given the range of consequences associated with endangering the welfare of a vulnerable person in the second degree, it’s worth contacting a reliable legal representative to handle these charges. Since it is up to the prosecutor to prove that the caregiver acted either intentionally or recklessly, this provides considerable opportunities for the defense to instead prove that their actions were possibly justified or at least unintentional.