Who Qualifies As a “Vulnerable Adult” in Minnesota?
When the State charges a defendant with a crime against a “vulnerable adult” (such as Criminal Abuse, Criminal Neglect, or Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult), one element the State must prove is that the victim qualifies as “vulnerable.” The definition for “vulnerable adult” found in Minnesota Statutes Section 609.232, subd. 11, can be kind of overwhelming. Here is a handy guide to whether an adult qualifies as “vulnerable”:
1. Is he or she living in a hospital, nursing home, or a facility that serves adults with mental illnesses, developmental, or physical disabilities, functional impairment, or chemical dependency? Residing in one of these kinds of facilities means the person qualifies as “vulnerable.”
2. Is he or she receiving services from one of the above facilities, but not including outpatient services for chemical dependency, mental illness treatment, or a person committed for a sexual psychopathic personality or sexually dangerous person? If so, then he or she may qualify as “vulnerable.”
3. Is he or she receiving assistance from a home care provider or any person or organization that provides personal care assistance services under Minnesota’s medical assistance program? Then, he or she may qualify as “vulnerable.”
4. Regardless of living situation and assistance received, is he or she physically or mentally infirm or have a physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction? If yes, then does that infirmity or dysfunction impair his or her ability to care for him or herself without assistance (including assistance in the way of food, clothing, health care, or supervision)? If both of these answers are “yes” and he or she also has an impaired ability to protect him or herself from maltreatment because of the infirmity/dysfunction and need for assistance, then the definition of “vulnerable adult” is met.
But don’t be fooled—there are certain exceptions and even ‘exceptions to the exceptions’ for each of these questions. The criminal penalties of Criminal Abuse, Criminal Neglect, or Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult are quite serious, and that is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact Brandt Criminal Defense at 763-421-6366 for a free, no-obligation consultation.