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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 12: Miscellaneous Endangerment Offenses

When someone has been entrusted to the care of an elderly person, he or she has the responsibility to provide conditions that ensure good health and wellbeing. When a person abuses or neglects an elderly person or nursing home resident, he or she can be convicted of a crime under this section of Illinois law. There are many situations in which a caregiver can be convicted, including allowing a seniors health condition to deteriorate, physically or verbally abusing an elderly person, or depriving them of food or medical care. These crimes carry a range of classifications but can be considered felonies.

In addition, it is also a crime under Illinois law to tamper with food, drugs, or cosmetics offered for sale or consumption. If a person knowingly puts any harmful substance into these products, regardless of intent, they can be convicted of this crime. A conviction carries a Class 2 Felony status.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been arrested for an endangerment crime in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 12 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - Article 12

Sec. 12-19. Abuse and Criminal Neglect of a Long Term Care Facility Resident.

(a) Any person or any owner or licensee of a long term care facility who abuses a long term care facility resident is guilty of a Class 3 felony. Any person or any owner or licensee of a long term care facility who criminally neglects a long term care facility resident is guilty of a Class 4 felony. A person whose criminal neglect of a long term care facility resident results in the resident's death is guilty of a Class 3 felony. However, nothing herein shall be deemed to apply to a physician licensed to practice medicine in all its branches or a duly licensed nurse providing care within the scope of his or her professional judgment and within the accepted standards of care within the community.

(b) Notwithstanding the penalties in subsections (a) and (c) and in addition thereto, if a licensee or owner of a long term care facility or his or her employee has caused neglect of a resident, the licensee or owner is guilty of a petty offense. An owner or licensee is guilty under this subsection (b) only if the owner or licensee failed to exercise reasonable care in the hiring, training, supervising or providing of staff or other related routine administrative responsibilities.

(c) Notwithstanding the penalties in subsections (a) and (b) and in addition thereto, if a licensee or owner of a long term care facility or his or her employee has caused gross neglect of a resident, the licensee or owner is guilty of a business offense for which a fine of not more than $10,000 may be imposed. An owner or licensee is guilty under this subsection (c) only if the owner or licensee failed to exercise reasonable care in the hiring, training, supervising or providing of staff or other related routine administrative responsibilities.

(d) For the purpose of this Section:

(1) "Abuse" means intentionally or knowingly causing any physical or mental injury or committing any sexual offense set forth in this Code.

(2) "Criminal neglect" means an act whereby a person recklessly (i) performs acts that cause an elderly person's or person with a disability's life to be endangered, health to be injured, or pre-existing physical or mental condition to deteriorate, or (ii) fails to perform acts that he or she knows or reasonably should know are necessary to maintain or preserve the life or health of an elderly person or person with a disability, and that failure causes the elderly person's or person with a disability's life to be endangered, health to be injured, or pre-existing physical or mental condition to deteriorate, or (iii) abandons an elderly person or person with a disability.

(3) "Neglect" means negligently failing to provide adequate medical or personal care or maintenance, which failure results in physical or mental injury or the deterioration of a physical or mental condition.

(4) "Resident" means a person residing in a long term care facility.

(5) "Owner" means the person who owns a long term care facility as provided under the Nursing Home Care Act or an assisted living or shared housing establishment under the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act.

(6) "Licensee" means the individual or entity licensed to operate a facility under the Nursing Home Care Act or the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act.

(7) "Facility" or "long term care facility" means a private home, institution, building, residence, or any other place, whether operated for profit or not, or a county home for the infirm and chronically ill operated pursuant to Division 5-21 or 5-22 of the Counties Code, or any similar institution operated by the State of Illinois or a political subdivision thereof, which provides, through its ownership or management, personal care, sheltered care or nursing for 3 or more persons not related to the owner by blood or marriage. The term also includes skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities as defined in Title XVIII and Title XIX of the federal Social Security Act and assisted living establishments and shared housing establishments licensed under the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act.

(e) Nothing contained in this Section shall be deemed to apply to the medical supervision, regulation or control of the remedial care or treatment of residents in a facility conducted for those who rely upon treatment by prayer or spiritual means in accordance with the creed or tenets of any well recognized church or religious denomination and which is licensed in accordance with Section 3-803 of the Nursing Home Care Act. (Source: P.A. 93-301, eff. 1-1-04.)

(Text of Section after amendment by P.A. 96-339)

Sec. 12-21. Criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person or person with a disability.

(a) A person commits the offense of criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person or person with a disability when he or she is a caregiver and he or she knowingly:

(1) performs acts that cause the elderly person or person with a disability's life to be endangered, health to be injured, or pre-existing physical or mental condition to deteriorate; or

(2) fails to perform acts that he or she knows or reasonably should know are necessary to maintain or preserve the life or health of the elderly person or person with a disability and such failure causes the elderly person or person with a disability's life to be endangered, health to be injured or pre-existing physical or mental condition to deteriorate; or

(3) abandons the elderly person or person with a disability; or

(4) physically abuses, harasses, intimidates, or interferes with the personal liberty of the elderly person or person with a disability or exposes the elderly person or person with a disability to willful deprivation.

Criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person or person with a disability is a Class 3 felony. Criminal neglect of an elderly person or person with a disability is a Class 2 felony if the criminal neglect results in the death of the person neglected for which the defendant, if sentenced to a term of imprisonment, shall be sentenced to a term of not less than 3 years and not more than 14 years.

(b) For purposes of this Section:

(1) "Elderly person" means a person 60 years of age or older who is incapable of adequately providing for his own health and personal care.

(2) "Person with a disability" means a person who suffers from a permanent physical or mental impairment, resulting from disease, injury, functional disorder or congenital condition which renders such person incapable of adequately providing for his own health and personal care.

(3) "Caregiver" means a person who has a duty to provide for an elderly person or person with a disability's health and personal care, at such person's place of residence, including but not limited to, food and nutrition, shelter, hygiene, prescribed medication and medical care and treatment.

"Caregiver" shall include:

(A) a parent, spouse, adult child or other relative by blood or marriage who resides with or resides in the same building with or regularly visits the elderly person or person with a disability, knows or reasonably should know of such person's physical or mental impairment and knows or reasonably should know that such person is unable to adequately provide for his own health and personal care;

(B) a person who is employed by the elderly person or person with a disability or by another to reside with or regularly visit the elderly person or person with a disability and provide for such person's health and personal care;

(C) a person who has agreed for consideration to reside with or regularly visit the elderly person or person with a disability and provide for such person's health and personal care; and

(D) a person who has been appointed by a private or public agency or by a court of competent jurisdiction to provide for the elderly person or person with a disability's health and personal care.

"Caregiver" shall not include a long-term care facility licensed or certified under the Nursing Home Care Act or any administrative, medical or other personnel of such a facility, or a health care provider who is licensed under the Medical Practice Act of 1987 and renders care in the ordinary course of his profession.

(4) "Abandon" means to desert or knowingly forsake an elderly person or person with a disability under circumstances in which a reasonable person would continue to provide care and custody.

(5) "Willful deprivation" has the meaning ascribed to it in paragraph (15) of Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986.

(c) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to limit the remedies available to the victim under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act.

(d) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to impose criminal liability on a person who has made a good faith effort to provide for the health and personal care of an elderly person or person with a disability, but through no fault of his own has been unable to provide such care.

(e) Nothing in this Section shall be construed as prohibiting a person from providing treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone and care consistent therewith in lieu of medical care and treatment in accordance with the tenets and practices of any church or religious denomination of which the elderly person or person with a disability is a member.

(f) It is not a defense to criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person or person with a disability that the accused reasonably believed that the victim was not an elderly person or person with a disability. (Source: P.A. 92-328, eff. 1-1-02; 93-301, eff. 1-1-04.)

(Text of Section after amendment by P.A. 96-339)

Sec. 12-4.5. Tampering with food, drugs or cosmetics.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-4.5)

(a) Any person who knowingly puts any substance capable of causing death or great bodily harm to a human being into any food, drug or cosmetic offered for sale or consumption commits the offense of tampering with food, drugs or cosmetics.

(b) Sentence. Tampering with food, drugs or cosmetics is a Class 2 felony. (Source: P.A. 84-1428; 84-1438.)

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DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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