In California, Penal Code section 368 provides that any person who willfully causes or permits the infliction of unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on an elder person is guilty of elder abuse. An elder is anyone who is at least 65 years old. This section also applies to people who have a legal duty to care for the elder, such as personal caretakers or nursing home employees. Because elder persons are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, the law protects them and prescribes severe punishments for those who commit such offense.
Elder abuse is a “wobbler” offense, which may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony. If an individual accused of this crime does not cause great bodily injury or death, an elder abuse conviction will be considered a misdemeanor. However, if an individual places the elder person in a position reasonably likely to result in great bodily injury or death, such conduct is punishable up to four years in state prison. When the victim is 70 years of age or older when he or she is injured, the court must sentence the person to additional five years. If the elder person dies as a result of the defendant’s conduct, the court may sentence such individual to additional seven years in state prison.
If you have been accused of elder abuse, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to vigorously represent you. At Wallin & Klarich, we have helped people accused of this crime for over 30 years. Call us today at (888) 764-2615 or visit us at our website at www.wklaw.com/elder-abuse. We will be there when you call.