The legislature found that it was especially important that the elderly are given special consideration and protection. This is due to the fact that many elderly persons are dependent, often confused, on medication and otherwise mentally or physically impaired. This makes it easier for a person to take advantage of them in their conditions, and therefore under California Penal Code §368, the legislature has dedicated a specific section for those who are charged with abuse of an elderly person.
The statute describes several different forms of abuse that will be chargeable under the statute. The following people may be grounds for a person to be charged under California Penal Code §368
- Any person who knows or reasonably should have known that a person is an elder or dependent 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
- Any person who has the 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
If a person is charged as described above, they could potentially face imprisonment in county jail, not to exceed one year, imprisonment in prison for two to four years, or a fine not to exceed $6,000.00, or by both fine and imprisonment.
The statute goes further to state that if the offense involved great bodily harm, then the person charged will receive additionally penalties in the form of increased terms in state prison depending on the age of the person who suffered injury as follows:
- Three years if the victim is under 70 years of age.
- Five years if the victim is 70 years of age or older.
The legislature also considered whether the actions of the person charged resulted in death. If so there is an additional penalty of imprisonment based upon the elderly person’s age.
(A) Five years in state prison if the victim is under 70 years of age.
(B) Seven years in state prison if the victim is 70 years of age or older.
Charges for elder abuse are like many other criminal charges, in that the facts of the case and the background of the person charged will determine the final outcome of the case. The Court will take into account the extent of bodily harm, prior criminal records, as well as the elder person’s dependency on the person charged. If you find yourself charged with elder abuse under California Penal Code § 368, do not take a chance on your future. Be sure to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles Criminal offense attorney as soon as possible so that you can be well prepared to fight your case.