A few weeks ago in mid-October, deputies received a report on Nearview Drive in Canyon Country about a possible domestic disturbance between two roommates. When deputies arrived, they discovered that an argument between a 57-year-old man and his 79-year-old roommate had become physical. After a brief investigation, the younger man was arrested on suspicion of elder abuse.
Elder abuse is covered under California Penal Code 368 PC and covers several situations, including:
Neglect and endangerment
Elder abuse has been on the rise in the U.S. for years, and those who are most often charged with it are family members or caregivers of the victim. However, it’s possible to be charged with elder abuse even if you have no relation to the victim.
Laws that granted senior citizens special protections were first put on the books in California during the early 1980s. In 1982, the California Legislature acknowledged that “dependent adults” (people who, due to their age or a disability, are dependent on others to meet their daily needs) are often on medication, confused, or mentally/physically impaired. This puts them in a place where special protections are necessary to ensure that others don’t take advantage of them or abuse them. It wasn’t until 1983 that Penal Code 368 was enacted to protect dependent adults. However, in 1986 the law was amended to extend protections to all elders.
Elder abuse is a “wobbler” in California Law, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include: informal probation, up to 1 year in county jail, a maximum fine of $6,000 ($10,000 for a second offense), restitution, and/or counseling. Felony penalties include: formal probation, 2 to 7 years in California state prison, up to $10,000 in fines, restitution, and/or counseling.