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Legal Statutes: Arizona

UPDATED September 15, 2017

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Chapter 36. Family Offenses

back to top§ 13-3623. Child or vulnerable adult abuse; emotional abuse; classification; exceptions; definitions

A. Under circumstances likely to produce death or serious physical injury, any person who causes a child or vulnerable adult to suffer physical injury or, having the care or custody of a child or vulnerable adult, who causes or permits the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult to be injured or who causes or permits a child or vulnerable adult to be placed in a situation where the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult is endangered is guilty of an offense as follows:

1. If done intentionally or knowingly, the offense is a class 2 felony and if the victim is under fifteen years of age it is punishable pursuant to § 13-705.

2. If done recklessly, the offense is a class 3 felony.

3. If done with criminal negligence, the offense is a class 4 felony.

B. Under circumstances other than those likely to produce death or serious physical injury to a child or vulnerable adult, any person who causes a child or vulnerable adult to suffer physical injury or abuse or, having the care or custody of a child or vulnerable adult, who causes or permits the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult to be injured or who causes or permits a child or vulnerable adult to be placed in a situation where the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult is endangered is guilty of an offense as follows:

1. If done intentionally or knowingly, the offense is a class 4 felony.

2. If done recklessly, the offense is a class 5 felony.

3. If done with criminal negligence, the offense is a class 6 felony.

C. For the purposes of subsections A and B of this section, the terms endangered and abuse include but are not limited to circumstances in which a child or vulnerable adult is permitted to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic or flammable chemicals are found or equipment is possessed by any person for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug in violation of § 13-3407, subsection A, paragraph 3 or 4. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a violation committed under the circumstances described in this subsection does not require that a person have care or custody of the child or vulnerable adult.

D. A person who intentionally or knowingly engages in emotional abuse of a vulnerable adult who is a patient or resident in any setting in which health care, health-related services or assistance with one or more of the activities of daily living is provided or, having the care or custody of a vulnerable adult, who intentionally or knowingly subjects or permits the vulnerable adult to be subjected to emotional abuse is guilty of a class 6 felony.

E. This section does not apply to:

1. A health care provider as defined in § 36-3201 who permits a patient to die or the patient's condition to deteriorate by not providing health care if that patient refuses that care directly or indirectly through a health care directive as defined in § 36-3201, through a surrogate pursuant to § 36-3231 or through a court appointed guardian as provided for in title 14, chapter 5, article 3. [FN1]

2. A vulnerable adult who is being furnished spiritual treatment through prayer alone and who would not otherwise be considered to be abused, neglected or endangered if medical treatment were being furnished.

F. For the purposes of this section:

1. “Abuse”, when used in reference to a child, means abuse as defined in § 8-201, except for those acts in the definition that are declared unlawful by another statute of this title and, when used in reference to a vulnerable adult, means:

(a) Intentional infliction of physical harm.

(b) Injury caused by criminally negligent acts or omissions.

(c) Unlawful imprisonment, as described in § 13-1303.

(d) Sexual abuse or sexual assault.

2. “Child” means an individual who is under eighteen years of age.

3. “Emotional abuse” means a pattern of ridiculing or demeaning a vulnerable adult, making derogatory remarks to a vulnerable adult, verbally harassing a vulnerable adult or threatening to inflict physical or emotional harm on a vulnerable adult.

4. “Physical injury” means the impairment of physical condition and includes any skin bruising, pressure sores, bleeding, failure to thrive, malnutrition, dehydration, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, injury to any internal organ or any physical condition that imperils health or welfare.

5. “Serious physical injury” means physical injury that creates a reasonable risk of death or that causes serious or permanent disfigurement, serious impairment of health or loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily organ or limb.

6. “Vulnerable adult” means an individual who is eighteen years of age or older and who is unable to protect himself from abuse, neglect or exploitation by others because of a mental or physical impairment.
Added by Laws 1979, Ch. 136, § 1. Amended by Laws 1981, Ch. 293, § 7; Laws 1985, Ch. 364, § 31, eff. May 16, 1985; Laws 1991, Ch. 219, § 1; Laws 1992, Ch. 193, § 1; Laws 1996, Ch. 357, § 1; Laws 1998, Ch. 276, § 38; Laws 2000, Ch. 50, § 4; Laws 2006, Ch. 252, § 1; Laws 2008, Ch. 301, § 85, eff. Jan. 1, 2009.