As defined by Bucks County law, a vulnerable adult is an adult that has been involved in and is the victim of domestic violence. In particular, it is the actual complaining witness in a criminal case – the person for whom the charges were brought to protect in the first place. That is considered by Bucks County law to be the vulnerable adult. Additionally, a defendant who is charged with causing harm to a vulnerable adult is often charged specifically with domestic violence. Under those circumstances, additional requirements can be placed on that individual should a bail hearing or terms of release be negotiated. Therefore, vulnerable adults can be both be male or female or any other group that is considered vulnerable and a complaining witness in a domestic violence matter. If you have more questions on this matter, consult with an accomplished Bucks County domestic violence lawyer today.
Some of the most common examples of vulnerable adult abuse involve elderly individuals and/or children in families. Children can be taken into court and can affect an individual’s right to be protected and the accused from being convicted. That is, children can raise the stakes when dealing with vulnerable adults. Additionally, should an individual also be elderly, or defined by statute as elderly, additional sentencing and additional crimes can also be charged in relation to the underlying domestic violence crime. For more information, refer to a Bucks County vulnerable adult abuse lawyer.
The prosecution in cases involving vulnerable adults must prove the same requirements that they would a regular domestic violence and/or assault type of case. In Pennsylvania, which is inclusive of Bucks County, all criminal acts are defined by the Pennsylvania criminal code. Thus, the government and/or the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of a crime regardless of whether an individual is a vulnerable adult or not. For example, should the matter be an assault, all elements of an assault must be proved.
The defenses that arise in a vulnerable adult abuse case are the same sort of defenses that arise in general criminal accusations. Among the most common are self-defense or defense of others. For instance, an individual has been attacked in some way in which they must retaliate in order to protect themselves or others, and then during that retaliation, the original instigator is injured. Police then arrest the individual with the least amount of injuries and thus, self-defense or defense of others becomes a defense. Other defenses such as finding an alibi and/or mistaken identity can also occur. Any sort of defense that can be raised at the trial level involving a similar crime can also be raised in this type of domestic violence crime.
The penalties that an individual could face in regards to domestic violence cases are the same type of penalties an individual could be facing based upon the gradation of a specific charge. The fact that it is a domestic violence case or a vulnerable adult in and of itself does not change the consequences.
However, it can act as an aggravating factor to someone’s sentence. A court can aggregate a sentence specifically based upon the facts of the case, and some of the main facts that courts look at are the age of the other party and the harm, or threat of harm, that is caused to a particular person.
An individual charged in a domestic violence case faces the type of sentences that an individual charged with the underlying crime would also face. Should it be a simple assault, the person faces as much as five years in jail. Should it be a felony of the first degree, a person can face as much as 10 years in jail. Under both scenarios, however, it is the underlying charge in the Pennsylvania criminal code that delegates what the sentence can be, and the fact that a domestic violence concern is raised only carries an aggregate or higher sentence when those elements are also added to the mix.
A person charged with having committed a crime to a vulnerable adult, or an adult involved in a domestic violence case, should immediately reach out and obtain the services of an experienced criminal domestic violence attorney in Bucks County. These are the types of charges that can lead to serious consequences and harm to an individual’s reputation and the ability of an individual to protect liberty.
In these types of cases, vulnerable adults are often looked at in a manner that creates a hardship to a defendant who is charged with a crime against them. That is, vulnerable adults can often cause conditions to be placed upon an accused even if the charges are not verified. However, those conditions can exist and can limit the ability of the accused to remain free on bail and/or even continue their employment. Having the right lawyer at the earliest possible time only ensures that certain conditions and/or requirements of bail or prosecution of preliminary hearing levels as well as the Court of Common Pleas levels can be enforced in a way that does not strain an accused person’s right to survive while charges are pending against them.