California Penal Code 368 – Elder Abuse Laws and Defense
Elder abuse is a touchy subject throughout California: the thought of abusing an elderly person angers many Americans, making it especially difficult for those who are not guilty of their crimes to receive a fair trial. Although there are a number of dangerous offenders out there, there are also a number of others facing charges for these types of offenses who are the victims of grave misunderstandings.
No one wants to hear why a relatively able-bodied person would need to defend themselves against an old lady, or any other excuse for that matter, but it does happen.
The best way to defend yourself against a crime is to know the law that governs your offense: California Penal Code 368. Those facing charges are encouraged to contact a skilled defense lawyer they trust to obtain a free case evaluation. A thorough investigation by a skilled legal mind will help uncover flaws in the prosecution’s case as well as any options you have available.
What Is PC 368?
PC 368 is California’s Penal Code that governs elder abuse law. Abuse is a general term that is used to describe a number of different instances involving persons that are 65-years-old or older. If prosecutors are able to prove that any of the following forms occurred, they may be able to convict you.
- The most commonly known form, physical, is when a person inflicts injury or pain upon a senior. Hitting, pushing, or throwing things at an elderly person are considered physical violations.
- Although less known, emotional violations are far more common by senior caregivers. These situations occur when a person takes action against a senior that belittles, shames, or negatively affects their emotional state.
- This occurs when a person 65-years-old or older is knowingly placed in a situation where their safety is in danger. For seniors who need full-time care, this can occur when a caregiver leaves them in a public place or fails to move them from a single position after long periods of time.
- When a person uses a senior to exploit their finances in some way. An example would be if a caregiver redirected a senior’s social security checks to their own bank account.
What Are The Penalties?
This particular offense is commonly referred to as a “Wobbler Offense”. This means that prosecutors assigned to your case may choose to pursue a felony or a misdemeanor against you, depending upon different factors. Those factors include whether or not you have a history of committing criminal offenses and the facts surrounding your current situation.
Instances where the attacker struck out physically are often charged as felonies while emotional, endangerment, and financial exploitation vary from case to case.
If convicted of a misdemeanor offense, you may be ordered to serve up to one year in jail and pay a $1,000 fine. If convicted of a felony, you could serve up to four years in prison.
Additional penalties for some offenses may require you to become a lifetime member of California’s sex offender registry. This can be an especially difficult penalty as it can drastically restrict employment opportunities.
How Can I Defend My Charges?
Knowing how to properly mount a defense for charges arising from alleged 368 PC violations is one of the most obvious benefits of hiring an elder abuse defense lawyer. A skilled legal mind will be able to conduct a thorough investigation of your case facts and help determine what strategy will best suit your situation.
Defense strategies are not one-size-fits-all. The following are ways in which those who are faced with these types of offenses are able to convince the court that they are not guilty.
“The Old Lady is Lying!”. Do you see how this can be difficult to prove? Why would an old lady lie about you attacking her? Although this can be a difficult scenario to prove, it is surprisingly common. Elderly persons are often of unsound mind and can sometimes believe that those who are closest to them are their enemies. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and a number of other debilitating ailments can lead to false accusations of elder abuse and other serious problems.
“It Wasn’t Me!”. Failing eyesight, dementia, or a number of other sicknesses associated with old age can lead an elderly person to mistakenly identify their attacker. There have been some situations where the victim identifies the attacker as looking completely different than they actually do.
“How Can You Say I Did This? There is No Evidence!”. As with other instances involving unsound mind, elderly persons may make wild accusations, often times with little evidence to support their claims. Regardless, authorities have an obligation to take these situations seriously and charge suspects with crimes under certain circumstances.
California Defense Attorneys
If you or your loved one are facing charges for violating PC 368 and would like to take advantage of a free confidential case evaluation, call (888) 250-2865 today to speak with one of our skilled legal professionals. A lawyer from The Law Offices of Randy Collins will help you to evaluate your options and provide you with the information you need during this difficult time.