In Florida, elder abuse is outlined in Florida statute 825.102 as abuse, neglect, or aggravated abuse of an elderly individual or disabled adult. It is elder abuse when the victim is older than 60 years old. When the adult is at least 18 years old but under 61 years of age, it is considered abuse of a disabled adult. Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs and local police are in charge of investigating accusations and claims of elder abuse.

What Does “Abuse of the Elderly” Refer to In Florida?

It refers to:

  • An intentional action that could reasonably cause either psychological or physical injury.
  • The intentional infliction of psychological or physical injury.
  • Encouraging someone else to commit an act that would cause psychological or physical harm.

Is Abusing an Elderly Person Considered a Misdemeanor or Felony?

In Florida, elder abuse is a felony. This crime is a third degree felony when there has been no bodily harm or permanent disfigurement inflicted on the victim. However, it is a first degree felony if the victim has suffered serious bodily harm or permanent disfigurement.

What the Punishment for Abuse of an Elderly Person in Florida?

The punishment for abusing an elderly person is:

  • Up to five years in prison for a third degree felony
  • Up to thirty years in prison for a first degree felony

What Are the Other Penalties Associated with Elder Abuse?

A person can be charged with aggravated neglect, which is a second degree felony. Aggravated neglect is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Financial elder abuse is also against the law in Florida. This is a first degree felony if the amount taken is more than $100,000. It is a second degree felony if the amount taken ranges from $20,000 to $100,000.

How Is Elder Abuse Different from Exploitation of the Elderly?

Florida statute 415.1111 allows someone to be sued in civil court for exploitation of the elderly, which is the non-criminal abuse of an elderly person. The plaintiff may receive actual and punitive damages for the abuse, exploitation, or neglect caused. 

Should I Hire an Attorney If I Am Accused of Elder Abuse?

Yes. It is highly recommended that you have an attorney in Florida representing you during any abuse investigations and any criminal proceedings that may follow an investigation of elder abuse.