Friday, April 12, 2013
The Alabama House of Representatives recently passed a new elder abuse bill that will add sections to the Criminal Code "for elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation." This move will expand the number of tools that prosecutors have to combat abuse among those that are most at risk. At the most, the only protection that is afforded to elder abuse victims are those that found within the Adult Protective Services Act. Unfortunately, the Act only covers victims who can be classified as a "protected person." The proposed change would protect people who over the age of 60, which would expand the category of people protected by the law.
The elder abuse and neglect section states that this crime can be punished as a first degree, second degree, and third degree felony. The aggregation of the crime depends on the type of harm and the amount of harm that a victim receives. The maximum penalty that a person can receive for a first degree is 10 year to life. The financial exploitation section is different. This section was designed to protect those over the age of 60 from exploitation by "deception, intimidation, undue influence, force, or [the] threat of force." This section would also punish agents who exploit those that they are suppose to protect. Because the version that the House was different the version the Senate passed, the bill will return to that chamber for approval.
See Danielle Deavours, Elder Abuse Bill Passes House, Alabama 13, Apr. 10, 2013.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.