Sec 368 of the California Penal Code defines elder abuse as follows:

• Physical abuse, such as the infliction of physical injuries and/or sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment and abduction;
• Financial abuse, committed through fraud or theft;
• Any other treatment resulting in physical and/or mental pain or suffering upon the elderly victim;

The following are the elements of the crime of elder abuse:

• There was willful or negligent acts upon the elderly, such as personally subjecting an elder to unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering or allowing another person to do these acts;
• The activity was done under circumstances likely to produce great bodily injury or death;
• The accused knew or reasonably knew that the victim was an elderly person;

This crime is considered as a “wobbler”. This means that it can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending upon the factual circumstances of the case and criminal record of the accused. To be prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense, the second element would read as may have endangered the life or health of the elder. If this is not the case, then the crime is prosecuted as a felony if all three elements are present.

For misdemeanor elder abuse, the imposable penalties are as follows:

• Summary probation;
• One year incarceration in a county prison facility;
• Payment of a fine of up to $6,000 and would b raised to $10,000 for a subsequent offense;
• Restitution of the victim;
• Counseling;

For felony elder abuse, the imposable penalties are as follows:
• Formal probation;
• Up to four (4) years in state prison, where as many as seven (7) years added on if the victim suffers great bodily injury or death and a potential strike under the Three Strikes Law of California;
• Payment of $10,000 in fines;
• Restitution;
• Counseling;

The crime of elder abuse is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.