When senior citizens commit crimes, they go through a similar legal process as younger adults. The first person involved with a crime is a police officer. Police officers try to use discretion when dealing with potential crimes and criminals, especially when they are elderly citizens. However, in some cases, police officers make decisions concerning an offense based on their personal biases. This can be the case with elderly criminals. Understanding how a police officer responds to the scene of a crime involving an elderly offender is the first step toward understanding the process in which elderly people are arrested and processed by the state of Connecticut.
Facts of Crime Scene
When responding to any crime scene, a police officer has to take all of the facts into consideration. This means that they will consider the circumstances that led to the crime. Also, they consider the seriousness of the crime, and liability for what happened. A police officer will also take into consideration any impairments that the offender might have. Unfortunately, most police officers don’t have the training to assess the impairments, behavior, and motives of elderly offenders.
While police officers should treat all offenders equally, this doesn’t always happen. Police officers, like all people, judge others based on societal biases. In some cases this works in favor of elderly offenders, while in other instances it works against them. This is certainly not the case for all police officers. But, some police officers have treated elderly offenders more harshly due their status as elderly offenders. In the case of first time offenders, police officers also might find a reason to judge the offender harshly. They might feel disappointed to see a respected elder in the community suddenly partake in criminal activity. The elderly offender’s gender, age, and attitude toward the police officer could affect the police officer’s response to the situation.
On the other hand, if an elderly person commits a minor crime, police officers sometimes respond by considering the offender harmless and in need of protection. Elderly alcoholics and vagrants found driving under the influence or shoplifting are generally not viewed as criminals but minor, harmless offenders. Many times, offenses by the elderly result from improper supervision and confusion by the offender.
Protecting Your Rights
Police bias is wrong and should not happen in today’s society. However, in some cases, police officers do use their personal judgment in order to determine how to proceed with a case. Certainly, not all police officers operate on blatant bias that can greatly skew a case. However, if you feel that you got wrongly judged and apprehended based on your age or gender, you should contact a Connecticut criminal defense lawyer immediately. By discrediting the police officer that handled your case, your case could be dismissed from court.