Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person

Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person | Attorney at Law

Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person


Simple assault is typically a misdemeanor offense in Texas, but a person can face felony charges if the alleged victim was a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual. The severity of the criminal charges will often depend on the alleged offender’s culpable mental state, which means they either acted intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently.


The nature of the injuries suffered by the alleged victim can also impact criminal charges. Prosecutors are usually very aggressive with these types of charges because children and elderly and disabled individuals are viewed as being less capable of defending themselves, so any person accused of this crime needs to be prepared when they arrive in court.

Elderly Injury


Denton Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Lawyer


If you or your loved one were arrested for allegedly causing injury to a child or elderly or disabled person in the Denton area, you need to have legal counsel before you speak to police. Make sure you contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.


We will work to possibly get your criminal charged reduced or dismissed. Call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.


Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Charges in Denton


Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a), a person commits the offense of injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual if they cause a serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual. A child is defined under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(1) as a person 14 years of age or younger and an elderly individual is defined under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(2) as a person 65 years of age or older.


A disabled individual is defined under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(3)(B) as a person "who otherwise by reason of age or physical or mental disease, defect, or injury is substantially unable to protect the person's self from harm or to provide food, shelter, or medical care for the person's self." Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(3)(A) also defines a disabled individual as a person with one or more of the following:


  • Autism Spectrum Disorder, Texas Insurance Code § 1355.001 — A neurobiological disorder that includes autism, Asperger's syndrome, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder.


  • Developmental Disability, Texas Human Resources Code § 112.042 — A severe, chronic disability that is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or to a combination of a mental and physical impairment; is manifested before a person reaches the age of 22; is likely to continue indefinitely; results in substantial functional limitations in three or more major life activities, including self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic sufficiency; and reflects the person's needs for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment, or other lifelong or extended services that are individually planned and coordinated.


  • Intellectual Disability, Texas Health and Safety Code § 591.003 — Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning that is concurrent with deficits in adaptive behavior and originates during the developmental period.


  • Severe Emotional Disturbance, Texas Family Code § 261.001 — A mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to result in functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits a person's role or ability to function in family, school, or community activities.


  • Traumatic Brain Injury, Texas Health and Safety Code § 92.001 — An acquired injury to the brain, including brain injuries caused by anoxia due to near drowning.  The term does not include brain dysfunction caused by congenital or degenerative disorders or birth trauma.


  • Mental Illness, Texas Health and Safety Code § 571.003 — An illness, disease, or condition, other than epilepsy, dementia, substance abuse, or intellectual disability, that substantially impairs a person's thought, perception of reality, emotional process, or judgment, or grossly impairs behavior as demonstrated by recent disturbed behavior.


The phrase bodily injury is defined under Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8) defines as "physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition." Texas Penal Code § 1.07(46) defines a serious bodily injury as "bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ."


Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a-1) further provides that the owner, operator, or employee of a group home, nursing facility, assisted living facility, intermediate care facility for persons with mental retardation, or other institutional care facility commits injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual if they cause a serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual. Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(b), an omission causing a serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual is conduct constituting the crime of injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual if the alleged offender had a legal or statutory duty to act or had assumed care, custody, or control of a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual.


Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Penalties in Texas


A person’s culpable mental state is critical in injury to a child, elderly person, or disabled person  cases. Culpable mental states are classified according to relative degrees, from highest to lowest, as follows under Texas Penal Code § 6.03:


  • A person acts intentionally, or with intent, with respect to the nature of his or her conduct or to a result of his or her conduct when it is his or her conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.


  • A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his or her conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he or she is aware of the nature of his or her conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his or her conduct when he or she is aware that his or her conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.


  • A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the result of his or her conduct when he or she is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor's standpoint.


  • A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the result of his conduct when he or she ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor's standpoint.


Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual is a state jail felony when an alleged offender recklessly causes bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual or causes serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury as the result of criminal negligence. A state jail felony is punishable by up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual is a third-degree felony when an alleged offender intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual is a second-degree felony when an alleged offender recklessly causes serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, or the alleged victim was a disabled individual residing in a state supported living center (as defined by Health and Safety Code § 555.001) or in a facility licensed under Chapter 252 of the Health and Safety Code, and the alleged offender is an employee of the center or facility whose employment involved providing direct care for the alleged victim. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Defenses in Denton County


Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(i), it is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(b)(2) that before the alleged offense the alleged offender notified in person the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual that they would no longer provide any of the care described by Texas Penal Code § 22.04(d) and notified in writing the parents or person other than himself acting in loco parentis to the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual that they would no longer provide any of the care described by Texas Penal Code § 22.04(d) or notified in writing the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services that they would no longer provide any of the care set forth in Texas Penal Code § 22.04(d).


Texas Penal Code § 22.04(l) also states that it is an affirmative defense:


  • that the alleged act or omission was based on treatment in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized religious method of healing with a generally accepted record of efficacy for a person charged with an act of omission causing serious bodily injury; serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual that there is no evidence that, on the date prior to the alleged offense, the alleged offender was aware of an incident of injury to the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual and failed to report the incident; and the person was a victim of family violence committed by a person who is also charged with an offense against the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual; did not cause a serious bodily injury; serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or bodily injury; and did not reasonably believe at the time of the omission that an effort to prevent the person also charged with an offense against the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual from committing the offense would have an effect; or


  • that the alleged offender was not more than three years older than the alleged victim at the time of the offense; and the alleged victim was a nondisabled or disabled child at the time of the offense.


Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(m), it is also an affirmative defense to prosecution under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a)(1), (2), and (3) for injury to a disabled individual that the alleged offender did not know and could not reasonably have known that the alleged victim was a disabled individual at the time of the offense. Texas Penal Code § 22.04(k) further provides that it is a defense to prosecution under this section that the alleged act or omission consisted of reasonable medical care occurring under the direction of or by a licensed physician; or emergency medical care administered in good faith and with reasonable care by a person not licensed in the healing arts.


Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Resources in Denton County


Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) — Adult Protective Services responsibilities include investigating reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults who are elderly or have disabilities. Child Protective Services responsibilities include providing services to children and families in their own homes. DFPS has an office in Denton:


Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

535 S. Loop 288

Denton, TX 76205

(940) 381-3400


Aging Services | North Central Texas Council of Governments — The North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging serves adults age 60 and older and their family caregivers who live in Collin County, Denton County, Ellis County, Erath County, Hood County, Hunt County, Johnson County, Kaufman County, Navarro County, Palo Pinto County, Parker County, Rockwall County, Somervell County, and Wise County. Its mission is “to create and maintain a coordinated network of health and social services for older adults and family caregivers.” On this website, you can also find information about the Denton County Committee on Aging.


Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Denton Injury to an Elderly or Disabled Person Attorney


Were you or your loved one arrested for alleged injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual in Denton or a nearby community in North Central Texas? You will want to be sure you are working with the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.


Our firm understands how to fight these kinds of criminal charges and help people obtain the best possible outcomes. We will provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.

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