Criminal Law on Nursing Home Abuse in Wisconsin

Elder abuse is a crime in most jurisdictions, although the classification, parameters and penalties will vary from state to state. In Texas, elder abuse is a felony, with the most serious transgressions leading to serious physical injury or death a first degree felony. This includes deliberate or intentional abuse that occurs while the elderly person is a resident in a nursing home that is funded at least in part through Medicaid or Medicare. Neglect and dereliction of duty in a nursing home leading to serious harm to a resident is a second degree felony. This may include inadequate care leading to malnutrition, poor hygiene, under- or over-medication, and abuse perpetrated by another resident.

This is encoded in the Wisconsin Penal Code under Section 46. The statute refers to injury to children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities caused by a person or institution from intentional or reckless acts of commission or omission. Despite criminalizing elder abuse, however, tens of thousands of reports of nursing home abuse comes in annually to be investigated, and that is only a fraction of the number of actual cases of abuse.

In Wiscon, there are between 15% and 30% of the population is elderly. This often falls on the shoulders of family and friends, who then report their suspicions to the proper authorities. Complaints of elder abuse against a long-term healthcare facility or nursing home in Wisconsin should be lodged at the Department of Health Services or DHS.

Reporting the crime to the authorities does not preclude civil litigation, however. You can file a concurrent case in civil court against both the abuser and the nursing home for personal injury to the elderly relative with the help of a good lawyer. Select from the most experienced of Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers in the area for the best results.

Classifying Criminal Offenses

The United States of America has three classifications when it comes to criminal offenses – felonies, infractions, and misdemeanors. The differences among the three depend on the severity and weight of the offence done and the amount of punishment that the convicted will receive. It is important for a charged person to know the difference among the three in order to have the right defense and protect themselves when they are charged.

Infractions are considered the lightest of criminal offenses, and this type does not require any imprisonment or incarceration. Infractions are also called petty crimes, those who are charged with infractions are generally fined, which are payable without necessarily appearing in court. Majority of the infractions are from local ordinances and laws aimed to discourage dangerous or annoying behaviors, although there are situations where infractions can become a serious crime.

On the other hand, misdemeanors are a type of criminal offense that is generally punishable by a short jail time and/or a monetary fine. Often, the time of imprisonment does not exceed one year, to be served in county jail, with a maximum fine of $1,000.00. Because misdemeanors can be serious charges, defendants have certain guaranteed rights (such as an attorney for legal representation), with trials lasting several months to even years.

The most serious category of crimes is a felony, where the person charged have the possibility of being in prison for more than a year, for life or even get executed. Property and person crimes are punishable felonies. A Columbia criminal defense lawyer can tell you that different states have their own classifications regarding felonies, each with increasing penalties for the seriousness of the crime and its minimum and maximum sentences. There are chances also, as some states practice, where convicted felons lose their civil rights.

In states that follow the death penalties, all crimes that can be punished through death are considered felonies. It all depends on the state that the crime was committed. Aside from longer punishments, convicted felons are also required to disclose their status when they are applying for a job, and can have limited traveling opportunities, among other things.