Abuse and Neglect Charges in Arizona
It’s not unreasonable that so many people who work closely with adults with disabilities fear that at some point, they’ll face Adult Protective Services. However, few believe that they’ll ever face criminal charges for something such as abuse or neglect.
Developmentally disabled persons receive greater protection from the law to the extent that Arizona laws require certain people to report even the slightest suspicion of neglect. That requirement has led to an overload of reports as people become afraid of facing criminal charges for failing to report possible abuse situations. Now those who have adult children with disabilities or have adults with disabilities in their home aren’t sure how to face unfounded charges.
What Could Have Led to These Charges?
Nearly all medical professionals and social workers are required to report any suspicions of abuse or neglect. They can report that to Adult Protective Services, who would initiate an investigation, or they may report it to the police, which would likely spur an investigation and charges.
The trouble with abuse when it comes to disabled adults is that the definition also includes actions that hurt someone’s feelings, keeps one person away from another, or refusing to allow them to go where they want to go.
It is possible that someone had heard you say something that they believed to be emotionally hurtful and then reported abuse. Additionally, someone could have filed the report after it seemed that the Disabled Adult was not free to go where they pleased. For caretakers of disabled adults, things such as outings or keeping the person away from other specific individuals may seem more protective than abusive, which makes it very difficult for everyone involved.
Vulnerable Abuse Charges
Under Arizona State law, the most likely charges include “child or vulnerable adult abuse,” which can include emotional abuse. These charges are almost always felonies and can apply to situations that are likely to produce injury, not exclusively to situations that directly produced injury or death.
Other situations that can lead to vulnerable abuse charges include injury is caused by omission or negligence. Additionally, you can face charges if it’s determined that you were a person who permitted the vulnerable adult to be in a position or situation where their health or safety could be in danger.
Is It Possible to Defend Yourself from False Vulnerable Adult Abuse Charges?
There are different types of these charges based on the extent of intent and action. For example, when done through recklessness, the charge is likely to be a class 3 felony. In Arizona, a criminal defense attorney would be able to better explain the charges that you’re facing and the possible ramifications of the class of felony associated with your charges.
Criminal defense in these cases is possible. It is likely that you’ll need to work with a criminal defense attorney to show that these suspicions of neglect or abuse or incorrect or false. You may also need to show that certain elements of the allegations were possibly in the best interest of the disabled adult, such as not permitting them to see a person that you considered dangerous.