A great deal of criminal law, as our assault attorneys know, is designed to protect those who cannot easily or ably protect themselves. Aside from and perhaps even more so than children, it is senior citizens who have the most difficulty defending themselves against a physical attack.
Naturally, as the body ages, one’s ability to both run away and defend oneself diminishes significantly. That is why state laws such as those found in Florida State Statutes 784.08 prescribe harsh, unbending penalties for those caught assaulting or battering someone over the age of 65 years old. With that said, these laws can sometimes cause people to be wrongfully accused, in which case a Ft Lauderdale elder assault lawyer should be contacted.
Elder Assault Laws
According to the statute, anyone who is convicted of aggravated assault or aggravated battery upon a person 65 years of age or older shall be sentenced to minimum of 3 years in prison and forced to pay fines of up to $10,000.00. Moreover, said individual will also be ordered, by the sentencing judge, to make restitution to the abused and to perform up to 500 hours of community service work. The restitution paid to the victim and the community service work performed for the benefit of the community cannot be “checked off” upon completion of some other part of the sentence; both must be completed in addition to any other fine or sentence.
A victim of aggravated assault or battery or aggravated battery being at least 65 years old means that the crime committed is to be reclassified in terms of punishment level. Regardless of whether or not the assailant knew that the victim was age 65 years or older, the offense for which the person is charged is to be reclassified as follows:
- In the case of aggravated battery, from a felony of the second degree to a felony of the first degree;
- In the case of aggravated assault, from a felony of the third degree to a felony of the second degree;
- In the case of battery, from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree; and
- In the case of assault, from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a misdemeanor of the first degree.
A lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale could help someone accused of elder assault minimize or avoid the penalties associated with this offense.
What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove to Be Convicted of Elder Assault?
There are a few specific elements that the prosecution must prove for someone to convicted of assaulting an individual aged 65 or older. What they have to prove also depends on whether the defendant is charged with assault or battery.
In an assault against the elderly case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended or threatened the alleged victim with harm, the accused had the ability to cause harm, the victim had reason to fear that they were at risk of harm, and that the alleged victim was over 65. In a situation involving battery, the prosecution must prove these elements in addition to demonstrating that the defendant touched the alleged victim without consent. Our Ft Lauderdale attorneys could help someone of assaulting an elderly person build their case against the prosecution and point out any weaknesses in their case.
Hire a Ft Lauderdale Elder Assault Attorney
Assault and/or battery against an individual aged 65 years or older is a crime that the judicial system takes very seriously. In addition to the heightened punishments, the state mandates that prosecutors and/or judges may not suspend, defer or withhold an adjudication of guilt or an imposition of a sentence if a person is guilty of the crime of aggravated assault, battery or aggravated battery upon a person aged 65 years old or older.
Laws like these leave little room for questioning and even less room for judicial discretion. If you have been arrested for or charged with the offense of battery on a person 65 years of age or older in, please contact our skilled Ft Lauderdale elder assault lawyers to set-up a free consultation.