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Elder Abuse

With the Baby Boomer generation on getting older, elder abuse is on the rise. This isn’t necessarily because more people are taking advantage of elderly people, but because not everyone understands what elder abuse is per California criminal law.

Under California law, elder abuse is an umbrella term used to describe several crimes where a senior citizen (i.e., a person who is 65 years of age or older) is the victim. Thus, acts of physical and financial abuse, along with any treatment that results in physical and/or mental pain and suffering, falls under the jurisdiction of elder abuse.

Although each individual crime has its own elements, all have one thing in common: all elder abuse related convictions fall under California’s wobbler law. Thus, instead of defining each crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony, California law lets the prosecutor decide how to charge you – depending on your criminal history and the circumstances of the act, among other potential factors.

The problem with the wobbler law is that it leaves you facing an uncertain future. For example, if charged as a misdemeanor, you could face a punishment of up to one year in a country jail and/or a maximum fine of $6,000.00. If, however, the prosecutor convicts you of a felony elder abuse act, you will serve a minimum of two years in a state prison and, in some circumstances, up to four years!

That being said, the advantage of the wobbler law is that it gives you room to possibly argue your offense down to a misdemeanor. However, to do this, you should seek the advice of an experienced California criminal defense attorney.

Examples of Elder Abuse

To better understand what constitutes an act of elder abuse according to California law, we provide you with several examples.

First, it is important to understand that elder abuse includes both physical acts of violence intended to inflict unjustifiable pain or injury, but also such acts as emotional abuse neglect and endangerment. For example, if you willfully place an elder person in a situation that endangers his or her health and/or safety, you can be charged with elder abuse.

One area of elder abuse that is on the rise is financial abuse (also known as financial exploitation). According to the California Penal Code sections 368(d) and 368(e), financial elder abuse is defined as the theft or embezzlement of money or other property from an elder. However, in practice this has been expanded by prosecutors to include the mismanagement of money, property or other assets belonging to an elder. Thus, for example, if you fail to pay an elder’s bills that you are responsible for paying, you could be charged with elder abuse.

Call Now

The only way you can ensure that your rights are protected is to work with a Los Angeles elder abuse defense attorney experienced in fighting elder abuse charges. The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman practices exclusively in California criminal defense and thus not only has an unmatched understanding of the law, but also knows many of the prosecutors personally. This can help immensely in negotiating your charge down from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Remember, when your future is on the line, call the Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman at 310.286.1218 for your free initial consultation.

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