Elder abuse is neglect, exploitation or harmful mistreatment of anyone who is 65 or older. It can include physical violence, psychological abuse, isolation, abandonment, abduction, false imprisonment or a caregivers neglect and it can also involve taking a senior’s money or property. Elder abuse can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor. It depends on the defendant’s criminal history and the facts of the case.

Because of this, if you are facing elder abuse charges, make sure to contact an attorney who can create a strategic plan to help you fight your case. If it is prosecuted as a misdemeanor, penalties could include up to one year in county jail and a fine of $1,000. If it is prosecuted as a felony, the defendant may be sentenced to state prison for 2-4 years.

There are many different types of defenses you can use in your case. One, is lack of intent. If the victim was not in your care or custody, California law requires that you acted willfully to cause unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering to the victim. Therefore, there must be proof of intent. Another defense is that the act was not willful or criminally negligent. If the victim was in your care or custody, you have to have willfully committed the offense or were criminally negligent in doing so. That means, you must have acted in a way that created a high likelihood of injury to the victim. If you were reasonably careful in your actions, your attorney may be able to use that to fight your case.

The third defense is if the victim was not at least 65 years old. It is not uncommon to see charges of elder abuse or neglect that occurred when the victim was under the age of 65. If the victim is not at least 65, you cannot be convicted of elder abuse but keep in mind you can still be criminally liable if the victim was a dependent adult. The fourth defense is lack of knowledge that the victim was 65 years old. If you don’t know that he or she was 65 years of age, you cannot be convicted of elder abuse. The fifth defense is self-defense or defense of another. This defense is typically available in situations where the elder adult engaged in physically aggressive or violent behavior that put you or another at risk. If you find yourself being charged of elder abuse, make sure to contact an experienced attorney who can help you sort it out.