Next to children, the elderly represent a group that society will always seek to protect because of their apparent vulnerability, which is the basis for laws criminalizing abuse against seniors. The law in California relating to elder abuse crimes covers a variety of behaviors and provides for serious penalties. If charged with elder abuse, you will need an experienced San Diego assault and domestic violence lawyer in your corner.
What is Elder Abuse?
California Penal Code makes it illegal to perpetrate any act of abuse against a person 65 years or older. Abuse can range include physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. In most cases, the person charged is a family member or caretaker, as they are deemed to have the responsibility to care for the elderly. Accordingly, the law seeks to protect the elderly and offer severe consequences for those found guilty of the crime.
When charged with elder abuse, the prosecution can pursue the case against you as a misdemeanor or a felony. In both instances, there must be a willful act of abuse committed against an elder by a person who has some legal responsibility to the victim. For the actions to amount to a felony, the abuse should be one that would create great bodily harm or death. When the abuse causes the life or the health of the elder to be endangered, then the offense is classified as a misdemeanor.
Penalties for a California Elder Abuse Conviction
The penalties, if found guilty, vary depending on the particulars of each case. They generally include one of, or a combination of, the following:
The severity of the sentencing is based on whether the charge is a felony or a misdemeanor. The latter can carry a jail sentence of up to 1 year while the former can range from as low as 2 years and up to 7 years in prison.
While these consequences are severe, if you find yourself being accused or charged with elder abuse, you should hire a San Diego assault and domestic violence lawyer knowledgeable about these offenses who is capable of preparing a sound legal defense.
Defending Your Elder Abuse Charge
In every criminal case, the prosecution has the responsibility to prove the elements of the crime. As a person charged with elder abuse, your lawyer will challenge the case being brought against you. At McElfresh Law, a lawyer will prepare your defense and vigorously represent you at your trial.
The law allows for two primary defenses for a person being tried for elder abuse. In many instances, harm that comes to a senior person is as a result of an accident. If it can be proven that there was no willful intent, the person charged will have a defense. Additionally, like many other criminal matters, the person facing trial for elder abuse may be the victim of a false accusation. In such a scenario, with the presentation of evidence and adequate legal representation, a not guilty verdict may be returned.
Hire a San Diego Elder Abuse Lawyer
The criminal judicial system is significantly different from the civil one. When you are charged with a crime, your best representation will come from a lawyer who is committed to criminal defense litigation. At McElfresh Law, our focus and experience is grounded in defending those charged and securing their freedom.
Elder abuse is a sensitive social issue. In many situations, there is very little sympathy for the alleged abuser. We understand that you are innocent until proven guilty, and we will work to prove that fact. You want to depend on a lawyer who understands the law, the system, and who is not concerned with public opinion.
The penalties for elder abuse are serious. If found guilty of a felony, you could face years behind bars. Serious cases require serious legal representation. Do not leave your freedom up to chance. At McElfresh Law, we have represented our clients with successful outcomes over the years. Our skill and experience are on your side.