Elder Abuse Sentencing and Punishment – CA Penal Code 368
California’s punishment for abuse of the elderly
According to the California Penal Code section 368, elder abuse sentencing and punishment depends on whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Elder abuse is considered a “wobbler” in California, which means it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor offense depending upon the facts of your case. In making this determination, the prosecution will consider various factors such as the age of the victim, the extent of the victim’s injuries, and the manner in which the alleged abuse occurred. Whether the offense is charged as a felony or misdemeanor will determine the sentencing and punishment following a conviction.
Elder abuse sentencing for a misdemeanor
A misdemeanor elder abuse conviction is punishable by up to a year in county jail and can include a fine of up to $6,000.
Elder abuse sentencing for a felony
A felony elder abuse conviction is punishable by 2, 3, or 4 years in county jail.
Elder Abuse Sentencing enhancements
Under CA Penal Code section 368, there are several circumstances that can increase the punishment for an elder abuse conviction in California:
- Victim sustains great bodily injury: If the victim is placed in a position reasonably likely to result in great bodily injury and actually sustains great bodily injury, the court will add an additional three years to your sentence if the victim was under 70 years old, or an additional four years if the victim was over 70 years old.
- Victim dies from the abuse: If the victim actually dies from the abuse, the court will add an additional five years to your sentence if the victim was under 70 years old, or an additional seven years if the victim was over 70 years old.
- Felony strike: Under California Penal Code section 1192.7(c)(1), (8), if the elderly person sustains great bodily injury or dies during the course of alleged abuse, it can also be counted as a felony strike on your record.
Counseling for elder abuse
Under CA Penal Code section 368(k), the court can order you to seek counseling if you are convicted of elder abuse. These counseling sessions can be extremely time consuming and may require you to change your schedule in order to comply with the court’s mandatory terms.
Court options at the time of sentencing
If you are convicted of elder abuse, the court has discretion in determining your sentencing and punishment in accordance with CA Penal Code section 368 guidelines. The court has the following options at time of sentencing:
- The court can sentence you to one of three terms provided by law
- Misdemeanor elder abuse: up to one year in county jail
- Felony elder abuse: 2,3, or 4 years in county jail
- Felony elder abuse (victim sustains great bodily injury or dies): up to an additional 4 to 7 years in state prison
- Place you on probation for a period of 3 to 5 years and impose a sentence of up to one year in county jail
- Place you on probation with no jail time, but order you to do community service, a work release program, or counseling
- Place you on formal probation and assign you a probation officer
When you are placed on probation the court will impose specific terms of probation that apply to the crime for which you were convicted. These terms of probation will include:
- Violate no law (other than a traffic infraction)
- Visit your probation officer as often as required by your probation terms
- Perform community service
- Pay restitution to compensate the victim
- Ban against owning or possessing a deadly weapon
These are only a few of the probation terms that a court can impose. If you are found to be in violation of any of these terms, the court can increase your sentence up to the maximum time allowed by law.
Finding an experienced defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich
California’s elder abuse sentencing is severe and potentially life changing. If you or someone you know has been accused of elder abuse, you need to contact an experienced defense attorney who will carefully review the facts and the law to give you the best representation possible. With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville and West Covina, Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience in defending our clients against charges of elder abuse. We will carefully review the evidence against you and help you win your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 or fill out our intake form. We will be there when you call.