Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Person

Injury to a Child Elderly Individual or Disabled Person

Assault is a common criminal offense that is somewhat broadly defined, and most simple assaults are misdemeanors. When the alleged victim of an assault is a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, a person could be facing felony charges.

Children and elderly or disabled individuals are generally viewed as being largely defenseless and unable to protect themselves. A prosecutor is highly likely to emphasize this aspect of victimhood in seeking maximum punishments for an injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled person offense.

Dallas Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Person Attorney


Were you or your loved one arrested for allegedly causing injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled person in the greater Dallas area? Do not try to explain yourself to authorities until you have legal representation.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can provide an aggressive defense against the criminal charges you face. Call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.

Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Person Charges in Texas

Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a), injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual involves an alleged offender causing 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 Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(2) defines an elderly individual as a person 65 years of age or older.

A disabled individual is defined in 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) establishes that a disabled individual is a person with one or more of the following:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

Bodily injury is defined under Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8) as “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” A serious bodily injury is defined under Texas Penal Code § 1.07(46) 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) establishes that an 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 a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Person Penalties in Dallas

Alleged child, elderly person, or disabled person cases are often classified based on whether an alleged offender acted intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission. These are known as culpable mental states, which Texas Penal Code § 6.03 classifies according to the following relative degrees, from highest to lowest:

    • An individual acts intentionally, or with intent, with respect to the nature of their conduct or to a result of their conduct when it is their conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.
    • An individual acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of their conduct or to circumstances surrounding their conduct when they are aware of the nature of their conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of their conduct when they are aware that their conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.
    • An individual acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding their conduct or the result of their conduct when they are 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.
    • An individual acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding their conduct or the result of their conduct when they 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.

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 causes bodily injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual as the result of criminal negligence, the crime is a state jail felony. Convictions are punishable by up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

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

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 if 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, injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, the crime is a second-degree felony. Convictions are 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 Texas

It is an affirmative defense for injury to a disabled individual under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a)(1), Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a)(2), and Texas Penal Code § 22.04(a)(3) 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. It is also a defense to prosecution under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(k) 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.

Texas Penal Code § 22.04(i) establishes that it is an affirmative defense 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).

It is also an affirmative defense under Texas Penal Code § 22.04(l) 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.

Another affirmative defense involves an alleged offender being not more than three years older than the alleged victim at the time of the offense, and the alleged victim being a nondisabled or disabled child at the time of the offense.

Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Person Resources in Dallas County

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) — The responsibilities of Adult Protective Services (APS) include investigating reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults who are elderly or have disabilities. Child Protective Services provides services to children and families in their own homes. Dallas County is in the DFW District for APS and Region 3 for DPS, which has a headquarters in Arlington although there are multiple Dallas offices:

Region 3 Headquarters

1200 E. Copeland Road

Arlington, TX 76011

(817) 792-440

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) — The DCAC investigates, prosecutes, and provides healing services for child abuse cases in Dallas County. Visit this website to learn more about what DCAC does and services it provides. You can also learn more about the DCAC “Save Jane” campaign.

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center

5351 Samuell Boulevard

Dallas, Texas 75228

(214) 818-2600

Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Person Person Lawyer

If you or your loved one has been arrested for alleged injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual in Dallas or another nearby area in Texas, do not wait to retain legal counsel. Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy as soon as you are able.

Our firm will work tirelessly to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have us examine your case when you call 972-233-5700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.


Client Testimonials

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