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Elder Abuse Penalties in California

Posted in Criminal Defense on August 16, 2019

Older Californians deserve respect and dignity. When an elderly person is alleged to have been abused, those suspected of the abuse can face a range of penalties in the state’s justice system.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines elder abuse as “an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” The US Department of Justice estimates that nearly 10% of seniors are abused each year. However, only around one in every 23 cases is reported to authorities.

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse takes many forms, and can include the following:

  • Physical abuse involves hitting, slapping, choking, pushing, biting, scratching, shaking, or using any other force that causes harm to the elderly.
  • Sexual abuse often occurs to those with dementia and those who are unable to defend themselves.
  • Psychological and emotional abuse includes intimidation, threats, name-calling, humiliation, and isolation.
  • Neglect happens when an elderly person’s caretaker fails to meet their residents’ basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing, medication, etc.
  • Financial abuse can happen when someone has access to an elderly person’s personal information, including identification and bank account information.

What are the California elder abuse penalties?

The penalties for elder abuse in California vary depending on the severity of the crime. The state legislature says that “elders and dependent adults are deserving of special consideration and protection, not unlike the special protections provided for minor children.” Briefly, the following penalties apply:

Murder: PENAL CODE § 187

  • Death penalty
  • Life without possibility of parole
  • 25 years to life

Rape: PENAL CODE § 261

  • State prison 3, 6, or 8 years

Lewd or lascivious acts: PENAL CODE § 288(a);(b)(2);(c)(2)

  • Felony – state prison 5, 8, or 10 years
  • $10,000 fine
  • State prison 1, 2, 3 three years
  • 1 year county jail

Sexual penetration: PENAL CODE § 289

  • State prison 3, 6, or 8 years

Acts that cause or permit infliction of physical or mental suffering on an elderly person under conditions LIKELY to produce great bodily harm or death: PENAL CODE § 368(b)(1)(2)(3)

  • 1 year county jail
  • $6,000 fine

Or

  • State prison 2, 3, or 4 years

If victim suffers great bodily injury – additional state prison

  • 3 years if victim was under 70 years of age
  • 5 years if victim was 70 or older

If defendant causes death of victim – additional state prison

  • 5 years if victim was under 70 years of age
  • 7 years if victim was 70 or older

Acts that cause or permit infliction of physical or mental suffering on an elderly person under conditions NOT LIKELY to produce great bodily harm or death: PENAL CODE § 368(c)

  • Misdemeanor offense

If you were accused of any of the crimes  listed above and have questions regarding your case, contact our Riverside sex crime attorney for a free consultation.

Violations of law proscribing theft or embezzlement (not a caretaker): PENAL CODE § 368(d)

If value of property taken exceeds $950

  • One year county jail
  • $1,000 fine

Or

  • State prison 2, 3, or 4 years

If value of property taken does not exceed $950

  • One year county jail
  • $1,000 fine

Violations of law proscribing theft or embezzlement (caretaker): PENAL CODE § 368(e)

If value of property taken exceeds $950 (misdemeanor or felony)

  • One year county jail
  • $1,000 fine

Or

  • State prison 2, 3, or 4 years

If value of property taken does not exceed $950

  • One year county jail
  • $1,000 fine

Mandated reporting of abuse violation: WELFARE & INSTITUTIONS CODE  § 15630 

Failing to report a misdemeanor offense

  • Six months county jail
  • $1,000 fine

Failing to report felony where abuse results in death or great bodily injury

  • 1 year county jail
  • $5,000 fine