Elder Abuse Law in California

Sec 368 of The California Penal Code defines the following criminal acts as within the purview of what is known as Elder Abuse:

  • Physical abuse upon an elderly person, either through the infliction of physical injuries and/or sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment and abduction;
  • Financial abuse upon an elderly person, either through fraud or deceit;
  • Any other action that results in physical and/or mental pain or suffering upon the elderly;

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

  1. Willful or negligent actions by the accused upon an elderly person consisting of unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering or allowing another person to do the criminal acts;
  2. The accused’s conduct resulted in great bodily injury or death;
  3. The accused knew that the victim was an elderly person;

For a misdemeanor elderly abuse charge, the accused’s conduct may have resulted in injury but in fact did not. With this, the crime is a wobbler and depending upon the factual circumstances of the case and the criminal history of the accused, the prosecutor may charge the offense as either a felony or a misdemeanor offense.

The following are the penalties imposable for the crime of Elder Abuse:

  • For misdemeanor elderly abuse, the following are the penalties:


  1. Informal probation;
  2. One (1) year in county jail;
  3. Payment of a fine of up to $6,000 or $10,000 for a second or subsequent conviction;
  4. Restitution for medical and/or losses of the victim;
  5. Mandatory attendance in abuse counseling;


  • For felony elderly abuse, the following are the penalties:


  1. Formal probation;
  2. Between two (2) to four (4) years in state prison and an additional three (3) to seven (7) years in prison if the victim suffers from great bodily injury;
  3. Registration under California’s Three Strikes Law;
  4. Payment of up to $10,000 in fines;
  5. Restitution for losses and medical expenses for the accused;
  6. Mandatory attendance in abuse counseling;

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