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Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

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Elder Abuse CaliforniaAs of 2011, there were more than 100,000 residents in California nursing homes, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If a recent study is to be believed, nearly half of these residents have experienced elder abuse.1

In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that a study conducted in 2000 in which 2,000 nursing home residents were interviewed revealed 44 percent of those residents say they had been abused and almost all reported either being neglected or seeing a resident neglected.2 Only one in 24 incidents of elder abuse are reported, according to the Gerontological Society of America

California Elder Abuse Laws (California Penal Code Section 368(c))

Under PC 368(c), anybody who causes or allows an elderly person to suffer unjustified physical and mental pain is guilty of elder abuse. The law says that caregivers or custodians of elderly people must follow normal standards of care when caring for and treating the elderly. Those who willfully fail to do so, or those who act in a criminally negligent way when doing so may be charged with elder abuse.

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Nearly half of all nursing home residents across the country have experienced abuse, and nearly all (95%) have been neglected or witnessed another patient being neglected, according to a recent report.1 Currently, more than 10,000 complaints and incidents of elder abuse and neglect are currently open in Los Angeles County alone.2

Los Angeles Elder AbuseState and county enforcement officials are hoping proposed changes will improve enforcement programs and patient welfare within the county. California currently provides LA County with $26.9 million each year to conduct elderly abuse and neglect investigations. However, the county says that to do the job right, it needs at least twice as much money and an additional 150 employees.3

Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal would increase LA County funding amounts and give more responsibility to state employees. Under the proposal, the state would handle the investigations of abuse, neglect or inadequate care complaints and the county would focus their efforts on yearly inspections of nursing homes, hospice care centers and acute care facilities. Officials hope the shift in responsibilities will help address the current backlog, as more than 2,700 of the 10,000 complaints have been sitting open for more than two years.

When nursing facility oversight falls short, procedures and patient care policies may not be updated and adhered to, there may not be enough staff to properly care for all residents and training procedures may not be up to standard. Each of these issues creates a recipe for disaster for patients and employees.

California Elder Abuse Laws (PC 368(c))

California law says that anyone who causes or allows an elderly person or dependent adult to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering is guilty of elder abuse. California Penal Code Section 368(c) requires that caregivers and custodians provide a standard of care to all dependent or elderly adults. If that standard of care is willfully not met, the caregiver can also be charged with elder abuse.

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If you have been arrested for elder abuse in Ventura County, you need to speak with an attorney from Wallin & Klarich right away. Not only do you face jail time and steep fines, you can also be deported out of the United States if you are not a citizen of this country.

Elder abuse is a crime on the rise in Ventura County. In 2011-2012, the Ventura County Human Services Agency responded to 2,892 allegations of adult abuse or neglect. The number of reported adult abuse or neglect cases increased 61.3 percent over the last year.1

The California Legislature believes vulnerable adults are in need of special protection from criminal abuse, as elderly and dependent adults “may be confused, on various medications, mentally or physically impaired, or incompetent.”2 As a result, vulnerable adults may not be able to protect themselves as well as others from harm.

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Crimes against the elderly have been increasingly reported and prosecuted in recent years. Prosecutors in Riverside are now armed with legislation that is tailored to prosecute those who abuse, neglect, or take financial advantage of the elderly or dependent adults.

Prosecuting Elder Abuse (PC 368)

Riverside%20Elder%20Abuse%20Defense%20Attorney%20888-280-6839.JPG To be convicted of elder abuse in Riverside, the prosecutor must first prove that:

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What is Elder Abuse?

Under California Penal Code section 368, it is unlawful to willfully cause unjustified physical pain or mental suffering to an elder adult. An elder adult is anyone who is 65 years old or older.

elder abuse defense attorney

This penal code section also applies to incompetent adults, which means those who are physically unable to take care of their own physical or mental health. California enacted this section to afford special protection to elder and incompetent adults because they typically rely on others for care.

The physical dependency of this class of people warrants a higher protection for them against criminal conduct. If you have been charged or accused of committing elder abuse, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately.

Defenses to Elder Abuse (PC 368)

Getting your attorney involved early on in your case can positively affect its outcome. Depending on the facts of your case, your attorney may be able to lower your charges or even get the case dismissed.

If you need an attorney to defend you against allegations of elder abuse, you need to contact Wallin & Klarich. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are highly skilled in elder abuse law and are knowledgeable about possible defenses. Some of the defenses our attorneys have used to defend our clients facing elder abuse charges in California include:

  • Lack of Intent – You lacked the intent to abuse the alleged victim
  • The victim was not 65 years old – In order to be convicted of this crime, the victim must be 65 years old or older. If the victim was not at least 65 years old, your attorney may be able to have the charges dropped or reduced.
  • You did not know that the victim was 65 years old – Your criminal defense attorney may be able to prove that you were not aware that the alleged victim is 65 years or older.
  • Self defense or defense of someone else – If your alleged abuse actually was performed in self defense or in defense of another individual, you will likely not be convicted of this crime.

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Under California Penal Code section 683, it is unlawful to willfully cause or permit unjustified physical pain or mental suffering to an elder adult. An elder adult is anyone who is 65 years or older.

Elder%20Abuse%20Defense%20Lawyer%20888-280-6839%20Penal%20Code%20368.jpgThis section also applies to dependent adults, those who are physically unable to care for their own physical or mental health.

Elder Abuse Prosecution

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One can only hope to never be charged with a crime, let alone a crime that qualifies as Elder Abuse. While Elder Abuse has always been frowned upon, Elder Abuse laws have become more severe and stringent in recent years due to the public’s heightened sensibility to Elder Abuse, which means harsher consequences upon defendants.

Elder%20Abuse%20Defense%20Attorney%20888-280-6839%20Penal%20Code%20368.jpgPursuant to California Penal Code 368, “elder abuse” can include any of the following types of conduct directed at anyone who is sixty-five (65) years of age or older:

• Physical Abuse (infliction of unjustifiable pain or injury on an elder victim)

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Frequently, we get asked if a client will go to jail for charges that are pending against that person. And while some crimes have mandatory minimum jail sentences attached to them, frequently there are numerous factors that are all considered before that question can be answered. However, even if someone is sentenced to a jail term, that could be alternative ways for serving that sentence, for example electronic home confinement; cal trans work; community labor; and even city jail.

Elder%20Abuse%20Penal%20Code%20368.jpgThe crimes of elder abuse is stated in Penal Code section 368(a)and are deserving of special consideration and protection, because elders and dependent adults may be confused, on various medications, mentally or physically impaired, or incompetent, and therefore less able to protect themselves.

Penal Code Section 368(b)(1) states , that any person who knows or reasonably should know that a person is an elder or dependent adult and who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not to exceed six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.

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Penal Code Section 368 defines elder abuse as:

“Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult, with knowledge that he or she is an elder or a dependent adult, to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years.”

Elder Abuse can be either charged as a misdemeanor or a felony by the District Attorney’s Office.

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Recently a granddaughter was convicted of elder abuse and grand theft by in affect accessing and taking her grandmother’s money and jewelry and selling it without her consent and then placing her grandmother in a nursing home. The mental abuse consisted of the conditions of the nursing facility in addition to her isolation her abandonment and the lack of visits or calls.

If a person commits multiple acts of theft, all of which are of an amount which is lower than what would constitute a charge of grand theft, they can be consolidated if the total amount is above the minimal requirement for a grand theft.

Elder abuse is defined as any person who knows or reasonably should know that a person is an elder or a dependent adult and who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.