In addition to the regular crimes of violence from a misdemeanor like battery to a more serious felony like aggravated assault, there is a specific crime in Florida that deals with injuries to an elderly person. What would normally be a misdemeanor battery could become a more serious felony charge if the victim is considered an “elderly person” under the Florida law.
Abuse of an elderly person occurs when a person intentionally causes a physical or psychological injury to an elderly person. The crime can occur even where no injury takes place if the suspect commits an act that could reasonably be expected to result in a physical or psychological injury to an elderly person. In either case, the suspect can be charged with a third degree felony which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. If the suspect’s act causes a serious injury to an elderly person, the crime becomes a first degree felony which can carry a maximum penalty of up to thirty years in prison.
An elderly person is defined as a person 60 years of age or older who is suffering from the infirmities of aging or other physical or mental problems to the extent that the person’s ability to take care of, or protect, him/herself is impaired. If the state files an abuse of the elderly charge, the state must prove more than the fact that the victim was at least 60 years old. The state must also prove that the victim was impaired in his/her ability to take care of himself. There was a recent case of a 75 year old man who was robbed and beaten but the charge against the defendant was dropped because the state merely provided evidence of the victim’s age without any evidence of the victim’s health and ability to take care of himself.