February 6, 2024 By Paul Wallin

California Elder Abuse Laws | PC 368


In California, elder abuse is a serious offense and is primarily governed by Penal Code 368 PC. This legislation not only covers physical harm inflicted on individuals aged 65 and older, but also includes financial abuse, neglect, and emotional harm, whether intentional or resulting from negligence. Elder abuse can manifest in various forms such as physical violence, emotional manipulation, exploitation, or disregard for the basic needs of the elderly individual. California’s robust elder protection laws aim to safeguard some of the most vulnerable members of our society, affirming the state’s commitment to their welfare and dignity.

Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for your free consultation!

What is PC 368? 

In California, the law defines elder abuse as physical or emotional harm, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment of a person aged 65 years or above. This definition also includes adults with disabilities who are unable to take care of themselves. The law aims to protect these vulnerable adults from any type of mistreatment.

Elder abuse can manifest in various ways: 

Physical abuse involves the infliction of physical pain or injury, such as hitting, slapping, or pushing. 

Emotional abuse, on the other hand, refers to actions that cause emotional pain, distress, or anguish. This may involve verbal assaults, threats, harassment, or isolation.

Neglect, another form of elder abuse, occurs when a caregiver fails to fulfill their caregiving duties, resulting in lack of necessary care for the elder. 

Financial exploitation involves the illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets. 

Lastly, sexual abuse involves non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with the elder.

What Must the Prosecution Prove? 

In order to successfully prosecute an elder abuse case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant committed one of the types of abuse covered by PC 368 against a victim aged 65 or older. The prosecution must also demonstrate that this act was willful, meaning that the defendant intended to commit it. Additionally, they must show that the victim suffered some type of harm as a result of the defendant’s actions. If the prosecution is able to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant can face severe penalties.

What are the Potential Penalties? 

The penalties for elder abuse in California vary depending on the severity of the offense and any aggravating factors present. A conviction for misdemeanor elder abuse can result in up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Felony elder abuse, on the other hand, carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. The penalties can also be enhanced if certain factors are present, such as the use of deadly weapons or causing great bodily injury.

What are Some Potential Defenses? 

Although California’s elder abuse laws are stringent, several defenses can be employed to challenge the charges. One potential defense is lack of intent. Since PC 368 requires that the defendant acted willfully, demonstrating that the action was accidental or lacked intent could be an effective defense. Another defense may be a false accusation. Elder abuse cases are often based on the testimony of the alleged victim or other witnesses, and misunderstandings or intentional false reports can lead to wrongful accusations. Insufficient evidence is also a common defense. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant abused the victim; if there is a paucity of evidence or the evidence is unreliable, this defense might be applicable. Finally, mistaken identity could be argued if there is doubt about who committed the alleged abuse. A skilled defense attorney can examine the specifics of your case to establish the most effective defense strategy.

How a Defense Attorney Can Help 

If you have been accused of elder abuse in California, it is crucial to seek the help of an experienced defense attorney. They can assess your case and determine the best strategy for defending against these serious charges. Some possible defenses in elder abuse cases include lack of intent, false accusations, and insufficient evidence. A skilled attorney can also negotiate with prosecutors to potentially reduce charges or penalties.

In conclusion, California has robust laws in place to protect its elderly population from abuse and exploitation. Penal Code 368 PC is the primary law governing elder abuse in the state, covering a wide range of harmful actions against individuals aged 65 and older. If you are facing allegations of elder abuse, it is important to seek legal representation to protect your rights and defend yourself against potentially severe penalties. Remember, elder abuse is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly. Let California’s laws work in your favor by seeking the help of a knowledgeable defense attorney.

At Wallin & Klarich, you will never be left wondering what will happen next with your case. Our attorneys will help you through each step of the process, and figure out the best strategy for your case, which will help you get the best possible outcome. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are here to help you. We offer exceptional service, experience, and affordable payment options to help you manage the cost of hiring a defense attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you are facing elder abuse charges, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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