When a caretaker assumes responsibility for the care of a person who is disabled, aged, or otherwise unable to fully care for himself, the health and well-being of the patient are placed in the hands of the caretaker. The caretaker now has a legal responsibility to the patient to provide at least a basic minimum level of acceptable care.
In some cases, however, accusations are made that the caretaker has failed to fulfill his obligations and is not providing the basic care necessary for the patient to maintain his or her health and dignity. The law wants to discourage caretakers from behaving in abusive or neglectful ways and, as such, there are strict rules in place that protect the vulnerable by imposing penalties and consequences on those who should be caring for them but who fail to do so.
While there are many different laws related to how older and disabled individuals can be treated, one of the most important is a rule found within Chapter 200 of Title 15 of Nevada’s code. Title 15 is Nevada’s penal code that details crimes and punishments within the state, while Chapter 200 is the chapter of Title 15 that sets forth the rules for crimes against persons.
Within Chapter 200, there are different subsections relating to different kinds of criminal act, and criminal neglect of patients is one of the subsections. If you have been accused of criminal neglect of patients, it is imperative that you reach out to a legal professional to find out what options you have available to you for fighting charges.
LV Criminal Defense has provided representation to many defendants accused of crimes against persons defined in Chapter 200 of Nevada’s code. We can put our legal experience and skill to work to help you fight the accusations against you so you can navigate the criminal justice system effectively and get the best outcomes possible. To find out more about the ways in which a Vegas criminal defense attorney at our firm can help you, give us a call today.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
The criminal neglect of patients is defined in Nevada Revised Statute section 200.495. According to the relevant statute, a professional caretaker can be charged with criminal neglect if the caretaker fails to provide care, supervision, or services that are reasonably necessary in order to maintain the health and the safety of a patient.
N.R.S. 200.495 indicates that specific criteria must be met in order for a care provider’s conduct to rise to the level of criminal neglect. For example, in order for a defendant to be found guilty, the prosecutor must prove all of the following are true:
• The professional caretaker’s act or omission was aggravated, reckless, or gross.
• The act or the omission is a major departure from what an ordinarily prudent, careful person would have done under the same circumstances.
• To determine if the act or omission was a major departure from the behavior of a prudent person, it’s necessary to determine if the act or omission in the particular circumstances appears to be contrary to a proper regard for the risk to human life or if it suggests indifference to the consequences likely to result from the act or omission.
• The consequences of the negligent act or the omission were reasonably foreseeable, such that the person who acted or failed to act could have anticipated that an adverse outcome would occur.
• The risk to human life did not come from simple inattention, from a mistake in judgement or from a misadventure but was instead the natural and probable result of the caregiver’s aggravated recklessness or the caregiver’s grossly negligent act or omission.
If the prosecutor is able to prove all of these things and a defendant is convicted, the penalties will vary depending upon the specific nature of the defendant’s conduct. For example, if the neglect results in death, the neglectful caregiver can be found guilty of a Category B felony. The neglectful caregiver could be sentenced to a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment.
If the neglect results in substantial bodily harm, the neglectful caregiver could also be convicted of a Category B felony and could be penalized under these circumstances with a minimum prison term of one year and a maximum prison term of six years. Instead of or in addition to the prison time, the defendant could also be fined up to $5,000.
If the neglect does not result in the neglected patient experiencing either death or substantial bodily harm, a conviction for criminal neglect of a patient would be considered to be a gross misdemeanor offense. This could still mean the possibility of a jail sentence for a convicted defendant.
The statute also makes certain exceptions to the general definition of criminal neglect of a patient. For example, it is not considered neglect if the patient is being treated with prayer alone, in accordance with the tenants and practices of the patient’s religion and the law does not require or authorize medical treatment to be provided if the patient raises objections to undergoing the treatment.
Understanding both the rules and the exceptions and limitations to the rules can be vital if you are charged with the neglect of a patient.
A Vegas criminal defense lawyer at LV Criminal Defense can stand up for your rights when you are accused of the criminal neglect of a patient. We will work closely with you to evaluate the evidence and accusations against you so you can determine the best course of action. Whether we negotiate a plea deal on your behalf or fight for acquittal, we provide dedicated, focused representation at every step of your case.
To find out more about how an attorney can help you to respond to serious charges that could affect your future, give us a call today.