The elderly – or individuals over the age of 65 – are afforded special legal protections in the state of California. The court system can hand down harsh penalties for individuals who violate California Penal Code Section 368: Elder Abuse.
You can find out more about the specific acts that are considered elder abuse right here with the Simmrin Law Group. Our professional team can also help you review:
- The Results of an Elder Abuse Conviction
- Possible Legal Defenses for Elder Abuse Accusations
- Charges Similar to Elder Abuse in California
Legally Defining Elder Abuse in California
PC 368 defines elder abuse – sometimes called senior abuse – very thoroughly. According to PC 368, individuals may be charged with elder abuse if they knowingly and willfully subject someone over the age of 65 to:
- Physical Abuse
- Financial Abuse
- Mental Abuse
Physical abuse can include acts of violence and sexual abuse. Abandonment and neglect of the elderly can also be considered forms of physical abuse in California. You should be aware that financial abuse can involve taking the funds of an elderly individual through the use of:
Elder abuse charges in California should only apply if the individual carrying out the abuse knew – or should have known – that the victim of the abuse was over the age of 65.
Penalties for an Elder Abuse Conviction in California
Elder abuse may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony in the state of California. Prosecutors can assess the facts of a specific case and the criminal history of the accused when deciding whether to use misdemeanor or felony charges.
Based on the specific charges used, an individual could face the following repercussions for a PC 368 conviction:
Misdemeanor Elder Abuse Penalties
- Jail Time: Up to One Year
- Fines: Up to $6,000
Note that a second misdemeanor elder abuse conviction can increase these fines to $10,000.
Felony Elder Abuse Penalties
- Prison Time: Up to Four Years
- Fines: Up to $10,000
You should be aware that the court system can hand down a subsequent sentence of up to seven years in prison if the elder abuse victim experiences a great bodily injury or if the victim dies.
Examples of Charges Similar to Elder Abuse in California
There are a number of criminal charges that resemble PC 368 in the state of California. Many of these acts are considered domestic violence. Examples can include:
- California Penal Code Section 187: Murder
- California Penal Code Section 192(b): Involuntary Manslaughter
- California Penal Code Section 242: Battery
- California Penal Code Section 261: Rape
- California Penal Code Section 401: Aiding a Suicide
- California Penal Code Section 484: Petty Theft
- California Penal Code Section 503: Embezzlement
These charges can cover many of the same acts that lead to elder abuse charges. However, they can be used to prosecute individuals regardless of the age of the victims.
Possible Legal Defenses for an Elder Abuse Accusation
You may be able to build a strong legal defense if you were accused of elder abuse in California. You can start going over your legal options with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Your lawyer can focus on your case. They may be able to build a defense by showing that:
Any Injuries Were Accidental
Sometimes, accidents happen and they can have serious repercussions. However, you should not face criminal charges under PC 368 if you injured an elderly person in an accident. You must act intentionally to face an elder abuse conviction.
You Were Falsely Accused of Elder Abuse
You may be dealing with false accusations of elder abuse in California. The elderly sometimes do not even intend to make false accusations. If an individual is suffering from dementia or another ailment, they may make false claims without realizing what they are saying.
There is Not Enough Evidence Against You
You may be accused of elder abuse in California without any corroborating evidence. Your lawyer can work to block evidence and may be able to weaken the prosecution’s case. If there is not enough evidence to demonstrate elder abuse, your case could even be dismissed.
Get Help with Elder Abuse Charges from a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Handling California Penal Code Section 368: Elder Abuse charges can be much easier if you have professional help on your side. The Simmrin Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can start working for you right now. You can contact us by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.
Take the first step in building a strong defense by reaching out to us for a FREE case evaluation.