The Criminal Justice System uniquely impacts our large and growing population of senior citizens. I am over 65 myself and have the special experience and sensitivity necessary for the job.
I have been a Criminal Attorney in West Palm Beach for over 45 years and I am 70. I have handled many difficult situations involving older individuals. They often have no family here and, even if they retired with a spouse, that person is deceased or ill. Sadly, the pressures and events associated with aging take their toll. Seniors may drink, they may abuse prescription medications, they may turn to illegal drugs. Financial pressure leads to shoplifting and thefts. Crimes of violence may occur among people who are no longer as capable of controlling their impulses as they once were. I have handled many cases involving older people who are involved in traffic accidents and leave the scene out of confusion or fear, or even inattentiveness, which appear to be age related.
Seniors who are arrested may have no local support. Their children are scattered throughout the country or even the world and maybe there has been a loss of social skills resulting in no friends at the time they are needed. Some older folks do not drive. They may not understand what is happening and no one has the time to fully explain it to them. They may not be tech savvy in a world where much important communication is digital. Seniors may find fines beyond their means and meeting conditions of probation may be beyond the capabilities of some older people. Jail sentences or prison sentences impact the older citizens in many ways that younger people do not experience.
I CAN’T FIND A YOUNGER PERSON WHO WANTS TO FIGHT WITH ME!!
Florida law makes it a felony to commit a simple Battery on a person over the age of 65. A simple Battery (a striking or unwanted touching of another individual) is only a misdemeanor. Legislators several years ago added language that makes it a felony crime to batter a person 65 or over. Originally it was passed as a law to protect the older citizens who may be preyed upon by younger people. The law has been used, however, in routine disputes between older citizens which turn physical. A person who simply pushes or strikes a person over 65 can be charged with a felony. The law makes no exception for a situation in which all involved are 65 or over or one is, for example 62, and the “victim” is 65 or older.
In cases of aggravated assaults (assaults with deadly weapons) or aggravated batteries (battery resulting in serious bodily harm or using a deadly weapon) on persons 65 or over, there is a 3 year mandatory prison sentence. 784.08 – Agg Assault or Battery over 65
As to arrests for simple Assault or Battery the officer has discretion to issue a Notice to Appear in Court and may choose not to book a person at the County Jail. There is no such discretion in the case of a felony arrest and, no matter what your age, if you are accused of a Battery on a Person 65 or Older, you are going to the jail and you will stay there until you see a judge within 24 hours. Needless to say, illness, physical impairment, mental impairment, and the stresses associated with age make this ordeal a more horrifying prospect to an older person.
WE’VE BEEN MARRIED OVER FORTY YEARS!
Domestic violence in older couples may result in felony charges simply because the both are 65 or older or the one who claims to have been struck, pushed, kicked …etc. is over 65.
Call 561-471-8100 for a FREE discussion with STEVE GOMBERG or Email Gomberglaw@comcast.net (subject “Senior”)