The Texas Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you exploited or otherwise financially abused an elderly person.
FAQs about the
Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual law in Texas
- What is the current Texas law about Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual?
- What is the statute of limitation for Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual in Texas?
- What is the penalty for a Texas Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual offense?
- Can you get probation for Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual in Texas?
- What level of crime is Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual in Texas?
The Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual law was enacted by the legislature in 2021 and amended in 2023. The 2023 amendments added a rebuttable presumption in subsection (f) that relates to victims with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or a related disorder.
Have you been charged with Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual? Book a consultation to discuss legal representation with attorneys Paul Saputo and Nicholas Toufexis today.
In passing the law, the legislature argued that the number and complexity of reports involving financial abuse of vulnerable and older adults has grown significantly over the past decade. Texas apparently has one of the largest and fastest growing populations of senior citizens in the country, and the legislature cited concerns egarding the vulnerability of elderly Texans to these scams. Due to the complexities of elder financial exploitation, many of the scams are not able to be prosecuted under traditional Theft statutes.
The Penal Code codifies the Texas Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual law under Title 7 “Offenses Against Property,” Chapter 32 “Fraud.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual below.
The current Texas law defines the offense of Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual in Penal Code Section §32.55 as follows:
(c) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly engages in the financial abuse of an elderly individual.
Financial abuse is defined in subsection (a)(2) of the law as:
the wrongful taking, appropriation, obtaining, retention, or use of, or assisting in the wrongful taking, appropriation, obtaining, retention, or use of, money or other property of another person by any means, including by exerting undue influence. The term includes financial exploitation.
The definition of elderly individual is cross-referenced from the Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual law as a person 65 years of age or older.
Financial exploitation is defined in subsection (a)(3) of the law as:
the wrongful taking, appropriation, obtaining, retention, or use of money or other property of another person by a person who has a relationship of confidence or trust with the other person. Financial exploitation may involve coercion, manipulation, threats, intimidation, misrepresentation, or the exerting of undue influence. The term includes:
- (A) the breach of a fiduciary relationship, including the misuse of a durable power of attorney or the abuse of guardianship powers, that results in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of another person’s property;
- (B) the unauthorized taking of personal assets;
- (C) the misappropriation, misuse, or unauthorized transfer of another person’s money from a personal or a joint account; and
- (D) the knowing or intentional failure to effectively use another person’s income and assets for the necessities required for the person’s support and maintenance.
This law was originally enacted by the Texas legislature in 2021, effective September 1, 2021.
This minimum offense level is a Class B misdemeanor, and the maximum offense level is a first degree felony. The offense level applicable varies with the amount of property involved:
- less than $100: Class B Misdemeanor
- more than $100 but less than $750: Class A Misdemeanor
- more than $750 but less than $2,500: State Jail Felony
- more than $2,500 but less than $30,000: Third Degree Felony
- more than $30,000 but less than $150,000: Second Degree Felony
- more than $150,000: First Degree Felony
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.
Note, however, that no matter the offense, neither judges nor juries may recommend community supervision for any suspended sentence of over 10 years. Also, judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.
The Penal Code classification of the punishment for Financial Abuse of Elderly Individual ranges from a Class B misdemeanor to a first degree felony, depending on value of the property taken.
Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.
^1. Texas Penal Code §32.55. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. Texas Penal Code §32.55(a)(2)^3. §32.55(a)(1), Texas Penal Code^4. Texas Penal Code §32.55(a)(3)^5. HB 1156, 87th Legislature (RS), Sections 1 & 2^6. Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^7. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9)^8. Texas Penal Code §32.55(d)^9. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^10. Art. 42A.053(c), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^11. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure