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Neglect of the Elderly 

Under Nevada's elder abuse and neglect prevention statute, NRS 200.5099, the elements of the offense include the defendant knew or should have known that his or her actions, or failure to act, placed an older person under their care in a position where the older person could be subjected to harm. The statute also requires that the accused's actions result in harm to the older person.

Under 1995 Nev.Stat., ch. 607, § 9, at 2253, “any person who abuses an older person, causing the older person to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering,” is guilty of violating the statute.

The term “abuse” is defined in NRS 200.5092:

1. “Abuse” means willful and unjustified:

(a) Infliction of pain, injury or mental anguish on an older person; or

(b) Deprivation of food, shelter, clothing or services which are necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of an older person.

The term “willful” is usually defined as an act that is done intentionally, not accidentally. Under NRS 200.5092, abuse involves willful and unjustified infliction or deprivation. The plain language of the statute reflects intentional acts.

One of the most important defenses in these cases revolve around the statute's requirement of knowledge and reasonableness. Those provisions define the state of mind required for a finding of guilt and effectively precludes punishment for inadvertent or ignorant acts.

Attorney for Elder Neglect in Las Vegas, NV

If you are accused of neglecting an elderly person in Las Vegas, Clark County, or the surrounding areas, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Gallo Law Office. Find out more about important defenses that can help you fight against false or exaggerated charges. 

We are familiar with the tactics used the Metro's Abuse/Neglect Detail of the 

James Gallo represents the children, relatives, and caregivers of an older person alleging neglect. We can begin your defense today. Call (702) 385-3131 today.


Penalties for Neglect of the Elderly in Nevada

A person who permits an elderly person who is 60 years of age or older to suffer unjustifiable pain or neglect that does not result in substantial physical or mental harm is punished as a gross misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of:

  • up to 12 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines, and
  • a requirement to pay restitution to the victim. 

If the neglect also causes substantial physical or mental harm, then the crime can be charged as a category B felony, with a statutory maximum penalty of:

  • 2 to 6 years in prison, and
  • a requirement to pay restitution to the victim. 

Nevada's Definition of Neglect

Under NRS 200.5092, the term "neglect" is defined as the failure to:

(a) A person who has assumed legal responsibility or a contractual obligation for caring for an older person ... to provide food, shelter, clothing or services which are necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of the older person.

The term “permit” is defined within the of NRS 200.5099 itself:

“Permit” means permission that a reasonable person would not grant and which amounts to a neglect of responsibility attending the care and custody of an older person.

1985 Nev.Stat., ch. 82, § 57, at 249 (currently codified at NRS 200.5099(8)(b)).


Purpose of the Elder Abuse Statute in Nevada

Nevada's statutes for elder abuse and neglect, read as a whole, require either that an individual willfully fails to provide for an older person or grant permission for some action that places an older person in a situation where the older person will suffer harm. 

NRS 200.5099(2) provides criminal sanctions for any person who has assumed responsibility, legally, voluntarily or pursuant to contract, to care for an older person and who:

(a) Neglects the older person, causing the older person to suffer physical pain or mental suffering;

(b) Permits or allows the older person to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering; or

(c) Permits or allows the older person to be placed in a situation where the older person may suffer physical pain or mental suffering as the result of abuse or neglect.

“Allow” means to take no action to prevent or stop the abuse or neglect of an older person if the person knows or has reason to know that the older person is being abused or neglected.

1995 Nev.Stat., ch. 607, § 9, at 2254 (currently codified at NRS 200.5099(8)(a)).


Nevada's Elder Abuse Prevention Statute

A conviction under the “neglect,” “permit” or “allow” sections of NRS 200.5099 only requires proof that an accused knew or had reason to know that an older person could suffer harm as a result of the accused's actions or failure to act.

Under Nevada’s statute for elder neglect, the State must prove that the accused intentionally abused an older person. However, with respect to the offense charged under the neglect, permit or allow language of the 1995 and current versions of the statute, the State need only prove that an accused knew or should have known that his or her actions, or failure to act, placed an older person under the accused's care in a position where the older person might be subjected to harm and harm actually resulted.

A charge of neglect under the 1993 statute requires actual, not constructive knowledge, of the needs of an older person and a failure to provide for those needs.

For the purposes of NRS 200.5091 to 200.50995, inclusive, a person who has “reasonable cause to believe” if, in light of all the surrounding facts and circumstances which are known or which reasonably should be known to the person at the time, a reasonable person would believe, under those facts and circumstances, that an act, transaction, event, situation or condition exists, is occurring or has occurred. 1999 Nev.Stat., ch. 631, § 1, at 3517.

While the term “reasonable cause to believe” does not appear in the neglect, permit or allow provisions of the statute, the language of NRS 200.50925 incorporates the overall theme of the statutes. See Vallery v. State, 118 Nev. 357, 374, 46 P.3d 66, 78 (2002).

In cases involving activities that do not rise to abuse, a reasonable person standard should apply. Thus, when an individual who is responsible for the care of an older person has knowledge of facts and circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe an older person was in a situation that might require additional care or services, the failure to take steps to check out the situation may result in criminal liability if the actions or failure to act causes the older person to suffer harm. Actual knowledge of danger to an older person is not required under the 1995 version of NRS 200.5099.


Administrator of a Residential Facility Group

In some cases, an administrator of a residential facility can face criminal liability for the abuse or neglect of an elderly person.
The statutes and regulations in the State of Nevada contemplate that an administrator can be held liable for harm to a resident even though the administrator did not assume personal care over an individual or was not the assigned caregiver.


Definition of Administrator of a Residential Facility

NRS 654.015 defines an administrator of a residential facility for groups as the “person who manages, supervises and is in general administrative charge of a residential facility for groups.”

Further, NRS 654.155(7) provides that each applicant for licensure as an administrator of a residential facility for groups must “[c]omply with such other standards and qualifications as the [Nevada state board of examiners] prescribes.” NRS 449.0355 states: “A residential facility for groups must not be operated except under the supervision of an administrator of a residential facility for groups licensed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 654 of NRS.”

The health division regulatory code required that the licensed administrator notify a resident's physician upon the onset of illness or injury. The licensed administrative provide protective supervision to avoid harm to the residents.

The regulations and statutes establish the licensed administrator’s duty of care, and a breach of the duty that causes an older person to suffer physical pain and/or mental suffering under the provisions of NRS 200.5099 may be the basis for criminal liability.


Neglect Means the Failure to Provide an Older Person with Necessary Items

The 1993 and the 1995 versions of NRS 200.5099 refer to neglect, not negligence. The term “neglect” refers only to the failure to provide an older person with items necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of the older person. While the 1993 version of the statute does require that a person have actual knowledge that an older person is in need, there is no requirement under either version of the statute of ill will or recklessness towards the older person.

Under Nevada’s elder neglect prevention statute, the neglect must “cause” and “result in” substantial bodily harm, death or suffering physical pain.


Defense of Intervening and Superseding Acts

In some cases, the acts are the sole cause of harm. On the other hand, “intervening cause means not a concurrent and contributing cause but a superseding cause which is itself the natural and logical cause of the harm.” In elder neglect cases, an act can only be a superseding cause if it is unforeseeable. Vallery v. State, 118 Nev. 357, 375, 46 P.3d 66, 78 (2002). 

The person accused of neglect has a right to rely on agents to perform the duties assigned to them.


Additional Resources

Nevada's Adult Protective Services - APS provides assistance to vulnerable and elder adults to stop and prevent abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The criteria for care recipient eligibility is that the alleged victim is age 60 or older or is an adult with disabilities. Anyone can make a report about suspected abuse to the Hotline at 702-486-6930 in Las Vegas and Clark County, NV.

Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Crimes in Nevada - Visit the website of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to learn more about the Metro's Abuse/Neglect Detail. The abuse unit in Las Vegas, NV, focuses on criminal investigations of elder abuse, neglect, isolation, and exploitation. The abuse unit combines the expertise of civilian investigators with that of commissioned officers. Visit the website to learn more about how to report allegations of abuse against an elderly person over the age of 60 years old. Find information on the 24 hours to Senior Protective Services Hotline at 486-3545.

Contact Information:

Abuse/Neglect Detail in Las Vegas
400 S. Martin Luther King Boulevard
Building A
Las Vegas, Nevada 89106.
702-828-3364
Office Hours: Monday - Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Finding Abuse / Neglect Attorneys in Las Vegas, NV

If you need an experienced criminal defense attorney for the neglect of the elderly, then call Gallo Law Office. We represent children, relatives, caregivers, health care providers, guardians, and individuals with power of attorney over an elderly and vulnerable adult. False allegations in these cases are common.

We also represent clients regarding allegations of exploitation of the elderly or vulnerable adult. Call today for a free and confidential consultation. 


This article was last updated on Friday, September 23, 2016.