Charges of abusing a vulnerable adult carry a lot of weight in Virginia. The stigma of abusing someone who is incapacitated can have harmful effects on someone’s reputation as well as having a negative impact on future employment. If you have been charged with vulnerable adult abuse, then seek the assistance of an experienced domestic abuse lawyer who can build a solid vulnerable adult abuse defense in Virginia.
One vulnerable adult abuse defense in Virginia to these types of charges would be, first and foremost, that the person is not incapacitated. There is a specific aspect of the definition of incapacitated that is not applying to the victim in this case. One could question whether the alleged victim is 18 years or older. Or challenge their status as an incapacitated adult, and whether they are not sufficiently lacking understanding or capacity.
In this instance of constructing a vulnerable adult abuse defense in Virginia, an attorney can break down the definitions of abuse and neglect. For these, the most common thing to attack is knowing and willful: did the person knowingly and willfully do this? One can attack the intent.
Then, there is attacking the actual injury: was there any actual injury, was this person actually confined? Attacking each of the nitpicky definitions is usually the way that defense attorneys approach these types of cases because it is so specific about what it protects.
Then, certainly there is the argument about the extent of the action or the non-action: what would have been appropriate in the situation if there was non-action, did the person do enough? That is argued by defense attorneys, and so that is a way that people can mount their vulnerable adult abuse defense in Virginia.
If somebody has informed consent, that is something that can be helpful when constructing a vulnerable adult abuse defense in Virginia, depending on certain situations. If an individual who is the alleged victim is supposedly incapacitated and they need to be moved from one place to another, for example, from home to nursing home, or some hospital to a nursing home, or a hospital to the home, or something like that.
If they are incapacitated because they have severe mental health issues and someone is restraining that person or confining that person while they are moving them, that constitutes elder abuse. There is somebody incapacitated. They are knowing and willfully restraining that person from freedom of movement, but a person is going to fall if they do not. They should not be convicted of the section if the person has the informed consent of the incapacitated person, which is not likely if they are restraining them to move them.
Or if there is somebody who was civilly committed and the person is moving them from institution to institution and they can give the consent to have them restrained on their way to the institution or on their way back from the institution. That person who is doing the restraining who otherwise might be charged because they physically are restraining this person should not be charged or would not be convicted because they have an exception; they have an authorization and they are doing it to get back and forth from a place.
Other ways that it can be okay is if the person restraining them is protecting them from harm. For example, if there was an attack on someone’s house and they shoved their grandmother into a closet and locked her in there and kept her in there for a significant amount of time, they did it to protect her from the people breaking into the house, so it is justified.
However, there are various exceptions to this. Apparently, the Virginia legislature thought about making exceptions to the statute. The corrections would be specifically if there is an informed consent by either the incapacitated person or the person authorized, or there is some other specific mitigating circumstance.
If you have been charged with abusing a vulnerable adult, reach out to a skilled abuse attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will be aware of a vulnerable adult abuse defense in Virginia, that can work for your case. A lawyer can defend you in court and help you move past these charges.