Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person in Mississippi

Elder Abuse in Mississippi

This firm aggressively defends persons accused of abuse of a vulnerable person in Mississippi.

Caretakers of vulnerable persons are particularly in danger of accusations that they have exploited and defrauded the elderly people they care for.  All too often, well meaning family members or friends of an elderly person will be accused of abuse without significant justification.  Mississippi takes abuse of elderly and helpless people seriously, and has had a separate section of its statutes covering abuse of a vulnerable person since the 1980s.  In 2010 the “Mississippi Vulnerable Adults Act” was changed to the “Mississippi Vulnerable Persons Act” because the statute is intended to cover abuse of all persons, regardless of age.  The stated intent of this statute is to “provide for protective services for vulnerable persons in Mississippi who are abused, neglected or exploited.”  Miss. Code Ann. § 43-47-3.

Definitions:

  1. Vulnerable Person – a person, whether a minor or adult, whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation or improper sexual contact is impaired due to a mental, emotional, physical or developmental disability or dysfunction, or brain damage or the infirmities of aging. The term “vulnerable person” also includes all residents or patients, regardless of age, in a care facility.  Miss. Code Ann. § 43-47-5(q).
  2. Abuse - a willful act, or failure to act, which contributes or results in the infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish on or to a vulnerable person, the unreasonable confinement of a vulnerable person, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of services which are necessary to maintain the mental or physical health of a vulnerable person. “Abuse” also includes some forms of sexual abuse.  ”Abuse” is not normal medical treatment, or appropriate displays of affection.  It may be a single incident or a series of incidents.  Miss. Code Ann. § 43-47-5(a).
  3. Neglect - either the inability of a vulnerable person who is living alone to provide for himself the food, clothing, shelter, health care or other services which are necessary to maintain his mental or physical health, or failure of a caretaker to supply the vulnerable person with the food, clothing, shelter, health care, supervision or other services which a reasonably prudent person would do to maintain the vulnerable person’s mental and physical health.  It may be a single incident or a series of incidents.  Miss. Code Ann. § 43-47-5(m).

How is this crime committed?

It is possible to get into trouble in a number of different ways:

  1. If you do something, or fail to do something, which causes the “neglect, physical pain, injury, mental anguish, unreasonable confinement or deprivation of services which are necessary to maintain the mental or physical health of a vulnerable person,” you can be convicted of a misdemeanor, and can be fined up to $1000.00 or imprisoned up to one year, or both.
  2. If you steal money from a vulnerable person, and the value is less than $250.00, you can be convicted of a misdemeanor, and can be fined up to $5000.00 or imprisoned up to one year, or both.  If you steal over $250.00, you face a felony and can be imprisoned up to ten years.
  3. If you willfully inflict pain or cause injury to a vulnerable person, you can be convicted of felonious abuse or battery, and can be imprisoned up to twenty years.
  4. Three misdemeanors within a five year period can be charged as a felony and punished by not less than one year nor more than five years in the custody of the Department of Corrections and shall be fined not less than $2,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00.
  5. Certain sexual crimes (sexual battery, gratification of lust) committed by a person in a position of trust over a vulnerable person.  Miss. Code Ann. § 43-47-18.

Health Care Employees Accepting Gifts from Vulnerable Persons

There are certain reporting requirements for employees of health care facilities who receive gifts from the elderly, and vulnerable persons.  Each gift worth $25.00 or more must be reported in writing, and a failure to report can result in a misdemeanor, $500.00 fine and six months imprisonment. Miss. Code Ann. § 43-47-8.

Mississippi Elder Abuse Crimes Defense Lawyer

Clarence has defended a number of these cases.  Very often, the state’s case is built on sketchy evidence consisting of unclear financial records, accusations of jealous family members and relatives and highly suggestive interviews of elderly “victims.”  But it is a serious offense, with serious damage to your freedom, and the very least your reputation.  Find a lawyer that takes pride in their work, who strives to be the best, and who tries cases.  If we can help please give us a call.