Assault Against Vulnerable Adult

Assault is already a heavily prosecuted crime in Minnesota, but the courts will take it a step further when the alleged victim is a vulnerable adult. The chances of a judge or jury being forgiving are slim when the alleged victim is a vulnerable person, and you will likely be sentenced to the maximum penalties.

Prosecutors will have to prove you knew the alleged victim was considered vulnerable and that the alleged assault caused demonstrable harm. You may be tempted to represent yourself, especially if the allegations are false, but prosecutors are trained professionals who will do everything in their power to put you behind bars.

 Criminal Defense Attorney in Apple Valley

Browsing the internet has brought you closer to finding the answer to your legal questions. James Blumberg is a dedicated criminal defense attorney who will answer all your legal questions and build a defense catered to your legal needs.

Exercise your right to legal counsel and schedule a time to speak with James Blumberg Law. Call (952) 431-7758. James Blumberg is based in Dakota County but also defends clients in areas such as Ramsey County, Scott County and Washington County.

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What is a Vulnerable Adult?

Vulnerable adults are those that do not have the means to protect themselves like a typical healthy adult. The state grants vulnerable adults added protections and heavily prosecutes those accused of harming them. The court will have to prove you knew or had reason to believe the alleged victim was considered vulnerable to achieve conviction.

An individual can meet the legal definition of a vulnerable adult in various ways. According to the Minnesota Statutes, a vulnerable adult is any of the following:

  • An individual living in a hospital, nursing home or facility that serves adults with mental illness, developmental or physical disabilities, functional impairment or chemical dependency. This can include the elderly, individuals who are blind or deaf or people with cognitive disabilities.
  • An individual who receives services at any of the facilities mentioned above, but not including outpatient treatment for chemical dependency, mental illness or anyone committed as a sexual psychopath or sexually dangerous person. This can include the same individuals mentioned above, but it does not include those who seek help outpatient mental illness such as depression and anxiety.
  • Anyone who receives assistance from a home care provider or organization providing personal care assistance services under Minnesota’s medical assistance program. People who commonly receive these services include the elderly and individuals with spinal cord disabilities
  • An adult with a physical or mental infirmity that:
  • Impairs their ability to adequately care for them self without assistance
  • Impairs their ability to protect them self from maltreatment

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Minnesota’s Assault Laws

Whether the offense was committed against a healthy individual or a vulnerable person, the definition of assault remains the same. You can meet the legal definition of assault in one of two ways:

  • The act was done with the intention to cause fear of immediate bodily harm or death; or
  • Intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm

Bodily harm is the lowest level of harm. It is defined as any physical pain, injury or impairment of physical condition. However, any level of pain, no matter how minuscule, may qualify as bodily harm. Even something as minor as a punch to the arm with no bruising may qualify as bodily harm.

Common examples of vulnerable person abuse include slapping, hitting, kicking or any form of corporal punishment. Even repeated or malicious treatment that would be considered threatening can meet the definition of assault. This type of behavior is commonly committed by individuals who care for vulnerable adults such as hospital staff, employees of treatment facilities, nursing home staff and at home care providers.

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Penalties for Assaulting a Vulnerable Adult

Assault against a vulnerable adult is classified as fourth-degree assault in Minnesota. According to the statute, the offense is a gross misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to a year in jail; or
  • A fine of up to $3,000; or
  • Both incarceration and a fine

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Additional Resources

Assault in the Fourth Degree | Minnesota Statutes – Follow the link provided to learn more about fourth-degree assault. You can gain access to more information about fourth-degree assault and find out how it can be charged based on the victim. The statute can be read on the Minnesota Legislature website.

Definition of Vulnerable Adult | Minnesota Statutes – Visit the official website of the Minnesota Legislature to read the precise legal definition of a vulnerable adult. You can also learn about other terms used for crimes against vulnerable adults such as caregiver and maltreatment.

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Criminal Defense Lawyer in Apple Valley

Were you falsely accused of assault? Were you unaware the alleged victim was labeled vulnerable? If so, contact James Blumberg Law. James Blumberg understands how frustrating your current situation is, which is why he wants to help. Mr. Blumberg is a relentless criminal defense attorney who will stop at nothing to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Take the first step in your defense and contact James Blumberg Law. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation. Some of the areas we serve include Apple Valley, Saint Paul, Shakopee and Stillwater.

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