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Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable or Disabled Person: NY PL 260.32 and 260.34

District Attorneys in the counties throughout the State of New York are tasked with, among other things, protecting our most vulnerable residents. When it comes to those who elderly, disabled due to a physical condition, or incompetent as defined by law, prosecutors can charge two potential felonies and won’t hesitate to do so when the accused is a caregiver. These crimes, Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person, or an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the Second and First Degrees, New York Penal Law 260.32 and 260.34 respectively, provide a penalty and punishment that can devastate an accused. In fact, PL 260.32 allows a sentencing judge to incarcerate a defendant upon conviction for up to four years in prison while PL 260.34 increases that exposure to seven.

Keep in mind that whether or not you are ultimately indicted by a Grand Jury for either felony offense, upon your arrest by the NYPD in New York City or any other police agency in the counties of the Hudson Valley – Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess – depending on the nature of the allegations you may find yourself facing steep bail requests by law enforcement and the granting of the same by a presiding judge. Simply, preparation, understanding the criminal law and strategizing with your criminal lawyer to implement the best defense is central to your immediate protection and long-term future.

What is a Vulnerable Elderly Person and an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person

For the courts to deem a complainant or victim a “Vulnerable Elderly Person”, such individual must satisfy the criteria set forth in PL 260.31(3) and be at least sixty years old. In addition to this age requirement, he or she must also suffer from a disorder related to their age that presents itself in demonstrable symptoms related to their physical condition or mental or emotional state. Because of these various issues, the law requires that this person be unable to provide for his or her own well-being in that he or she cannot adequately address their own health or personal care.

An “Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person “is also defined by statute. Pursuant to PL 260.31(4), such an individual must be incapable to care for him or herself not because of their respective age, but a physical or mental condition that prevents him or her from doing so.

Who is a Caregiver in the Context of NY PL 260.32 and NY PL 260.34

PL 260.31(1) defines a “Caregiver” as anyone who accepts the accountability for a Vulnerable Elderly Person. This responsibility can be created by court order or due to a financial type relationship whereby the caregiver assumes the same.

When is Contact Considered Sexual and a Violation of the Penal Law

“Sexual Contact”, although defined in PL 260.31(2), has a relatively common definition. In substance, any touching of the intimate parts of another person not married to the accused for the purpose of sexual gratification or desire by either the toucher or recipient fits in this definition. Whether it is under or over clothing it is of no consequence if the person protected by the statutes touches a defendant in this manner or the caregiver is the one touching him or her.

Other Issues and Concerns Associated with Endangering Crimes

Due to the nature and elements of both degrees of Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person, or an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person, it is common to see these felonies charged with lesser and more serious crimes including varying degrees of Assault and other offenses relating to weapons and sexual violence or misconduct. Moreover, if you are a foreign national, a conviction for either of these crimes, or a related offense, may be deemed a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude or Aggravated Felony. It goes without saying that your criminal defense attorney and immigration counsel may both have their respective hands full.

At bottom, a conviction for New York Penal Law 260.32 or 260.34 will not merely leave you with a permanent criminal record, exposed to long term incarceration in prison and a life left in disarray, but the possibility of fines, the imposition of Orders of Protection and unparalleled shame and embarrassment. Exercise your rights, educate yourself on the law and criminal justice system, and retain the right legal advocate to protect you not merely during this frightening process, but the balance of your life.

From New York City in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, to the counties, cities, an towns of the Hudson Valley, Saland Law’s criminal attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors are the advocates you need today to protect your life and future well beyond tomorrow.

Call the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan domestic violence prosecutors at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today

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