More Americans than ever before are making the difficult decision to arrange care for their parents and grandparents as our population ages. Nursing facilities, residential care centers, in-home care, or even self-care for our elderly family are all options.
These circumstances can be difficult for everyone concerned. One of the negative side effects has been an increase in reports of elder abuse as the number of elderly persons requiring care has increased. Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, or financial endangerment are all examples of elder abuse.
Elder abuse is prohibited under California law. If you are accused with this offense, you could face harsh consequences, including incarceration. That is why having an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical for anyone facing this type of allegation. While we all want to protect our elderly loved ones from abuse, false accusations not only injure those who are accused, but they also keep the genuine culprits hidden. Keep reading and then contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal consultation.
The prosecution must prove several elements
A prosecution must show that a person committed the felony crime of elder abuse by demonstrating that the accused:
- Willfully or negligently subjected or allowed another person to subject an elder to unjustified physical pain or mental suffering and
- The conduct occurred under circumstances that were likely to result in great bodily injury or death and
- The individual knew or reasonably should have known that the alleged victim was an elder.
The elements of this crime are crucial since they are the key to successfully arguing against such an accusation. To begin, the act must be committed either willfully — that is, deliberately or on purpose — or with criminal negligence — that is, with more than usual carelessness or a mistake in judgment. A person commits criminal negligence for the purposes of this legislation if their conduct is so irrational that they display a disdain for human life.
Furthermore, the behavior had to take place in “circumstances likely to cause serious bodily harm.” This does not imply that the elder was harmed; rather, they were in a circumstance where they were likely to be harmed.
Elder abuse is a wobbler offense
Elder abuse can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. As a misdemeanor, it carries a sentence of up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $6,000, victim restitution, and/or therapy. Formal probation, two to four years in California state jail (or longer if the victim is injured), up to $10,000 in fines, restitution, and/or counseling are all possible consequences for felony elder abuse. Because of the severity of these penalties, it is critical to be prepared to defend yourself.
Defending yourself against elder abuse charges
There are several options for fighting charges of elder abuse in California. To begin, your attorney could show that you lacked the necessary intent – that is, that your conduct was neither deliberate nor criminally negligent.
For example, if you were assisting your elderly mother to the restroom and she slipped and fell, it would be deemed an accident rather than elder abuse. Alternatively, your elder abuse defense lawyer may claim that the evidence is insufficient to convict you. If the only witness to the alleged offense is the elder, whose memory may be imperfect, that alone may not be enough to show your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Chambers Law Firm can assist you if you have been charged with elder abuse. We represent clients in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas on a variety of accusations. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 714-760-4088 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.