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Expunge Your Criminal Record

Expunge Your Criminal Record > What You Should Know When Facing an Elder Abuse Charge

What You Should Know When Facing an Elder Abuse Charge

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Dementia and other degenerative disorders can cause elderly individuals to become confused and disoriented. Consequently, they sometimes make false accusations about elder abuse. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of an elderly individual accusing you of inflicting physical injury or pain, an elder abuse defense attorney can help. Below, we'll discuss what you should know when facing an elder abuse charge.

Legal Consultation

The first step you should take when accused of elder abuse is to talk to a defense lawyer with experience defending elder abuse cases. Elder abuse is a serious crime; therefore, consult with an attorney before speaking with anyone else about the situation. Even though you know you're innocent, anything you say to the authorities can be used against you.

State Elder Law

If you live in a state that has specific laws relating to elder abuse, the prosecution must prove that you knew the victim was over the age of 65. Regardless of the person's age, physically abusing someone is against the law. But you may face a stiffer criminal penalty in a state that has elder abuse laws.

Strength of Evidence

In order for the prosecutor to move forward with the case, he or she must have sufficient factual evidence to prove the case. Your attorney will work to have the charges against you dropped by looking for flaws in the prosecutor's case against you. Any allegations an elder makes must be backed by evidence to support them. Otherwise, the prosecutor or the court will dismiss the charges.

The lack of physical evidence and corroborating witnesses isn't the only way to get the charges dismissed. While investigating the allegations, your lawyer may discover that the person has a history of mental illness or has made false accusations against others in the past.

Your lawyer can also get the charges dropped if he or she discovers that the authorities did not gather evidence in the appropriate manner. In that case, the judge rules the evidence inadmissible. Hearsay evidence isn't admissible either.

Possible Defenses

Lack of intent is an effective defense if your lawyer can show that an injury to the victim was an accident. The prosecution may not be able to prove willful intent, especially if you can show that you attempted to take reasonable care of the individual in the particular incident in question. Or you must demonstrate that you did not foresee that your actions or failure to act would cause injury.

The court also will not hold you criminally liable in a situation where the elderly individual became physically aggressive or violent toward you or another person. However, you must show that your own physical safety or that of another individual was at risk and the use of immediate force was necessary to protect yourself or others from harm. Even so, you must show that you used no more force than necessary to defend yourself against the elder's threatening actions.

Elderly memory loss may be another avenue for defense. If the person experiences memory problems because of Alzheimer's disease or as a side effect of medication, he or she may unintentionally accuse you of wrongdoing. The person may have hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing people who aren't there, that seem very real, distorting their perceptions of what's happening to them.

Credibility

Unless there are witnesses to the abuse, alleged victims who appear cognitively impaired may be doubted when they relate their accounts of the events. When it comes to establishing your own credibility, your character and a positive reputation are essential factors.

The authorities are more likely to believe that you treated your accuser with care and dignity if you continue to show compassion and respect toward the elder even as you defend yourself against false accusations.



If you've been charged with elder abuse or another criminal offense and are in need of legal defense, call the law offices of Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices. Attorney Gregory H. Kassel has the experience and expertise to help you.

Expunge Your Criminal Record > Don't Let the Past Affect Your Future—Expunge Your Criminal Record

Don't Let the Past Affect Your Future—Expunge Your Criminal Record

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Most people know that a serious criminal record can follow a person throughout his or her life, but many people are surprised to discover that minor criminal offenses can wreak havoc as well.

If you have ever been convicted of (or even arrested for) a minor criminal offense like shoplifting or failure to appear, these charges could affect your ability to move forward with your life. Employers and landlords regularly ask if you have been convicted of a criminal offense, and checking "yes" could cost you a job or an apartment—no matter how minor the offense may be.

Opting to have your record expunged will ensure that your past mistakes don't affect your ability to move forward in the future. Here are three things that you need to know about expunging your records in order to use this process for your benefit.

1. Most Records Can Be Expunged, But Not All Crimes Are Eligible

When you are trying to determine if you want to invest in expunging your criminal record, it can be beneficial to look at the types of entries that are included on your criminal record before you proceed.

Many factors can affect a person's eligibility when it comes to expunging a criminal record. Some of these factors include the amount of time that has passed since the conviction, the severity of your crime, and whether or not you successfully completed the terms of your punishment and/or probation.

It can be helpful to meet with an attorney who has experience assisting clients with expunging their records to determine your eligibility as you consider expunging your own criminal record.

2. Expunging Your Record Only Goes So Far

Many people mistakenly assume that once their record has been expunged, any prior arrests or convictions will be permanently deleted from their permanent record. It's important to recognize that your prior arrests and convictions may still be accessed by police departments or certain licensing agencies.

The main purpose of expunging your records is to prevent arrests and convictions from appearing in public searches. Then landlords or employers will no longer be able to view your prior criminal history, and you can mark "no" when asked if you have been arrested or convicted of a crime when you fill out job or rental applications.

An attorney will be able to look over your prior criminal record and tell you exactly how expunging this record will affect you in the future.

3. Expunging Your Record Can Take Time

If you want to expunge your criminal record in order to prepare for an upcoming move or other major life event, you need to start the process early.

In order to successfully remove criminal arrests and convictions from your record, you will need to fill out many forms, collect supplementary evidence supporting your case, and possibly appear in court to defend your petition to have your record expunged. These steps in the process of expunging your records can take time, so you need to plan accordingly and begin working to remove your criminal record well in advance of any major life event you are preparing for.

Your attorney will be able to help you gain greater insight into the projected timeline for your individual case when you first meet to discuss expunging your criminal records.

Having the ability to remove the burden of a prior criminal record allows you to move forward and rebuild your life. Schedule an appointment with one of the experienced attorneys at Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices to discuss how expunging your criminal record can benefit you in the future.