While a simple assault will usually result in misdemeanor charges in Texas, alleged assaults against victims that were children, elderly individuals, or disabled individuals can be felony offenses. Certain other factors can be important in these cases.

For example, the alleged offender’s culpable mental state and the severity of the injuries caused will both be considered in the filing of criminal charges. People who are accused of these types of crimes are often aggressively prosecuted because injuries to these protected groups are largely viewed as unforgivable crimes that deserve severe punishment.

Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person-main

Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX

Were you or your loved one arrested for allegedly causing injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled person in the Fort Worth area? Do not speak to the police without an attorney.

Let the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy deal with authorities for you. Our firm can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to set up a consultation.

Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Charges in Fort Worth

A person commits an injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a) if they cause a serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual. Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(1) defines a child as a person 14 years of age or younger and an elderly individual is defined under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(2) as a person 65 years of age or older.

Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(3)(B) defines a disabled individual as a person “who otherwise by reason of age or physical or mental disease, defect, or injury is substantially unable to protect the person’s self from harm or to provide food, shelter, or medical care for the person’s self.” Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(3)(A), a disabled individual is also defined as a person with one or more of the following:

Mental Illness, Texas Health, and Safety Code § 571.003 — An illness, disease, or condition, other than epilepsy, dementia, substance abuse, or intellectual disability, that substantially impairs a person’s thought, perception of reality, emotional process, or judgment, or grossly impairs behavior as demonstrated by recent disturbing behavior.

Autism Spectrum Disorder, Texas Insurance Code § 1355.001 — A neurobiological disorder that includes autism, Asperger’s syndrome, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Traumatic Brain Injury, Texas Health, and Safety Code § 92.001 — An acquired injury to the brain, including brain injuries caused by anoxia due to near-drowning.  The term does not include brain dysfunction caused by congenital or degenerative disorders or birth trauma.

  • Developmental Disability, Texas Human Resources Code § 112.042 — A severe, chronic disability that is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or to a combination of mental and physical impairment; is manifested before a person reaches the age of 22; is likely to continue indefinitely; results in substantial functional limitations in three or more major life activities, including self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic sufficiency; and reflects the person’s needs for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment, or other lifelong or extended services that are individually planned and coordinated.
  • Severe Emotional Disturbance, Texas Family Code § 261.001 — A mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to result in functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits a person’s role or ability to function in family, school, or community activities.
  • Intellectual Disability, Texas Health and Safety Code § 591.003 — Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning that is concurrent with deficits in adaptive behavior and originates during the developmental period.
 

Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8) defines bodily injury as “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” A serious bodily injury is defined under Texas Penal Code § 1.07(46) as “bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”

An owner, operator, or employee of a group home, nursing facility, assisted living facility, intermediate care facility for persons with mental retardation, or other institutional care facility commits an injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a-1) if they cause a serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual. An omission causing a serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual is conduct constituting the crime of injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(b) if the alleged offender had a legal or statutory duty to act or had assumed care, custody, or control of a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual.

Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Penalties in Texas

The phrase culpable mental state refers to an alleged offender’s criminal intent and is very important in injury to a child, elderly person, or disabled person cases. Texas Penal Code § 6.03 classifies culpable mental states according to relative degrees from highest to lowest as follows:

  • A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the result of his conduct when he or she ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
  • A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the result of his or her conduct when he or she is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
  • A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his or her conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he or she is aware of the nature of his or her conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his or her conduct when he or she is aware that his or her conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.
  • A person acts intentionally, or with intent, with respect to the nature of his or her conduct or to a result of his or her conduct when it is his or her conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.
 

If an alleged offender recklessly causes bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual or causes serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury as the result of criminal negligence, injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual is a state jail felony. A conviction is punishable by up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

If an alleged offender intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual is a third-degree felony. A conviction is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

An alleged offender recklessly causes serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, or the alleged victim was a disabled individual residing in a state-supported living center (as defined by Health and Safety Code § 555.001) or in a facility licensed under Chapter 252 of the Health and Safety Code, and the alleged offender is an employee of the center or facility whose employment involved providing direct care for the alleged victim, injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual is a second-degree felony. A conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Defenses in Tarrant County

Texas Penal Code § 22.04(m) establishes that it is an affirmative defense under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a)(1), Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a)(2), and Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a)(3) for injury to a disabled individual that the alleged offender did not know and could not reasonably have known that the alleged victim was a disabled individual at the time of the offense. Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(k), it is a defense to prosecution under this section that the alleged act or omission consisted of reasonable medical care occurring under the direction of or by a licensed physician, or emergency medical care administered in good faith and with reasonable care by a person not licensed in the healing arts.

Texas Penal Code § 22.04(l) further provides that it is an affirmative defense:

  • that the alleged act or omission was based on treatment in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized religious method of healing with a generally accepted record of efficacy for a person charged with an act of omission causing serious bodily injury; serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual that there is no evidence that, on the date prior to the alleged offense, the alleged offender was aware of an incident of injury to the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual and failed to report the incident; and the person was a victim of family violence committed by a person who is also charged with an offense against the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual; did not cause a serious bodily injury; serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or bodily injury; and did not reasonably believe at the time of the omission that an effort to prevent the person also charged with an offense against the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual from committing the offense would have an effect; or
  • that the alleged offender was not more than three years older than the alleged victim at the time of the offense, and the alleged victim was a nondisabled or disabled child at the time of the offense.
 

Texas Penal Code § 22.04(i) establishes that it is an affirmative defense under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(b)(2) that before the alleged offense the alleged offender notified in person the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual that they would no longer provide any of the care described by Texas Penal Code § 22.04(d) and notified in writing the parents or person other than himself acting in loco parentis to the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual that they would no longer provide any of the care described by Texas Penal Code § 22.04(d) or notified in writing the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services that they would no longer provide any of the care set forth in Texas Penal Code § 22.04(d).

Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Resources in Tarrant County

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) — The responsibilities of Adult Protective Services include investigating reports of neglect, abuse, and exploitation of adults who are elderly or have disabilities. The responsibilities of Child Protective Services include providing services to children and families in their own homes. Tarrant County is in DFPS Region 3, which has a headquarters in Arlington:

Region 3 Headquarters

1200 E. Copeland Road
Arlington, TX 76011
(817) 792-4400

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Tarrant County (ADRC) — The ADRC of Tarrant C County serves people who are 60 years of age or older or have a disability, and their caregivers.  The organization’s partners include the Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County, MHMR Tarrant, Texas Health and Human Services, and the United Way of Tarrant County. You can find links to all partner agencies on this website.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Tarrant County

1300 Circle Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76119
(855) YES-ADRC (855-937-2372)

Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

If you or your loved one were arrested for alleged injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual in Fort Worth or a surrounding area of Tarrant County, you need to know that the prosecutor handling your case is expecting a guilty plea but will be prepared to do whatever they have to do to get a conviction. You are going to want to be sure that you have a skilled criminal defense lawyer.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online for a confidential consultation.