Under the law, elders, dependent adults, and minors are afforded special protections. Given that special protections are afforded to these groups, a conviction for “abusing” an elder or dependent adult is punishable by either state prison or county jail. [Penal Code § 368].
Absent aggravating circumstances, an individual can be sentenced to state prison for between two (2) and four (4) years due to a conviction for elder abuse. If a court or jury finds that the District Attorney has proven a special allegation, such as that the elder was over the age of seventy (70) or that the elder victim died as a result of the defendant’s actions, the court must sentence the defendant to an additional consecutive term in prison. The additional term in prison that the court must impose can range from anywhere between three (3) and seven (7) years.
If a defendant is fortunate enough not to be sent to state prison for an elder or dependent adult abuse conviction, the defendant can still be punished by up to one (1) year in the county jail, a six thousand dollar ($6,000) fine, supervised probation, search and seizure, and counseling as directed by the probation department.
Major Categories of Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse
According to the California District Attorney’s Association there are seven major categories of elder abuse that a District Attorney’s Office will prosecute against. These seven categories of elder abuse are as follows:
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Financial or Material Exploitation
- The California District Attorneys Association has declared that it will prosecute Guardians and Conservators for permitting the self-neglect of an elderly person simply by virtue of their relationship to the victim.
Under Penal Code section 368 it is easier to convict a caretaker of elder abuse than it is to convict a non caretaker of elder abuse. This ramification should ring alarm bells for caretakers given that any taking over four hundred dollars ($400) can be prosecuted as a felony and lead to time in the state prison. A caretaker who has received gifts from an elder, whether in the form or personal or real property, can be prosecuted regardless of their good faith belief that the elder wanted them to have the gift.
Oftentimes, even when the elder comes to court and tells the District Attorney their intent behind the gift, the District Attorney will still prosecute the defendant. The District Attorney will relentlessly attempt to force the defendant to plead guilty or no contest because they believe that the elder or dependent adult is a victim that is “covering up” for their abuser. Very often, the defendant’s only hope of avoiding the conviction is to have a trial by judge or jury. It is then left to the judge or jury to decide if the elder or dependent adult is telling the truth.
Trial Lawyers are Needed to Defend Cases of Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse
When it comes to trial, not just any attorney will do. Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at law are trial lawyers that stand tall against the power of the system against you. We will fearlessly convey to the district attorney, judge and jury alike that your case is wrongfully charged and prosecuted. Because district attorneys know that we are capable of winning an elder or dependent adult abuse case at trial, we are often times able to work out favorable plea deals for our clients in lieu of trial.
Many elder abuse cases can be highly complex to defend. The crimes that a defendant can be charged with range from residential burglary, robbery, domestic violence, home repair scams to election and lottery fraud. Amongst the most complex of these crimes against the elderly are those where the elderly person is alleged to have been financially and materially exploited.
These financial crimes can involve investment scams, telemarketing fraud, mail fraud, home improvement scams, identity fraud, credit card fraud, forgery, work-at-home scams, magazine sales, prizes and sweepstakes scams, Medicare fraud, abuse and misuse of legal authority (powers of attorney, trusts, guardianships, and conservatorships) and real estate & mortgage fraud
It is imperative that you have a highly skilled trial lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with the complex rules of evidence to prepare your defense. Your defense may require the presentation of testimony from financial to mental health and physical abuse experts. These experts may be needed to combat the District Attorney’s expert witnesses.
Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law is your best choice for preparing a compelling and convincing defense.
California Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Defense Lawyers
If you are charged with elder abuse in San Mateo County, San Francisco County, Santa Clara County, Alameda County or Contra Costa County, contact Ahmed and Sukaram, Attorneys at Law right away so that we can start preparing your defense today!