Penal Code 368: Elder Abuse

Penal Code 368 in California is the state law that defines elder abuse and the penalties associated with it. It is an important piece of legislation that seeks to protect elderly individuals from physical, psychological, and financial harm. As such, it’s essential for everyone to understand what exactly constitutes elder abuse and how it is prosecuted in the state of California.

In this article we will provide an overview of Penal Code 368 and answer any questions you may have about Elder Abuse Charge in California.

What is California Penal Code 368?

(b) (1) A person who knows or reasonably should know that a person is an elder or dependent adult and who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not to exceed six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.

California Penal Code 368, as we understand fro the text above (the full text of the law here), is the law that protects elderly individuals from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It is also commonly known as Elder Abuse. Under this law, it is illegal for any person to willfully or negligently cause or permit an elder to suffer physical harm, or mental suffering, or to be placed in a situation where they are in danger of physical harm or mental suffering. In addition, it is illegal to take, or to assist in taking, the assets or money of an elder without their permission or consent.

Elder Abuse is defined as any physical abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or abandonment of an elderly person, who is 65 years of age or older. In California, this type of abuse is taken very seriously and perpetrators can face criminal charges if found guilty. A conviction could result in jail time and significant fines. If you have been accused of Elder Abuse under California Penal Code 368, it’s important to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney.

Elder abuse affects countless elderly people every year in California and beyond, but victims may be too ashamed or frightened to speak up or take action against the abuser. Therefore, it is critical that we all do our part to protect our elderly loved ones from any kind of abuse. If you or someone you know has been accused of elder abuse, contact an experienced Los Angeles Elder Abuse Attorney immediately to ensure your rights are protected.

What types of abuse does California Penal Code 368 prohibit?

California Penal Code 368 prohibits any form of elder abuse, including physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, financial abuse, emotional abuse, and mental suffering.

Physical abuse:

This includes assault, battery, and the use of force against a person who is 65 years of age or older. It also includes using physical punishment or confinement that results in physical injury or pain.


Neglect is when an individual fails to provide an elderly person with basic necessities such as food, clothing, medical care, and shelter.


This is when an individual deserts an elderly person without providing care or assistance.
Financial abuse occurs when someone wrongfully uses an elderly person’s money or property. Examples include fraud, identity theft, cashing checks without permission, and manipulating a senior into signing a document.

Emotional abuse:

This type of abuse occurs when someone speaks to an elderly person in a cruel or demeaning way or verbally threatens them.

Mental suffering:

When an individual inflicts emotional pain or distress on an elderly person through verbal or nonverbal acts.

It is important to remember that elder abuse in any form is illegal under California Penal Code 368 and is punishable by fines and/or jail time. If you believe that you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse, seek help from the appropriate authorities immediately.

Elements of California Penal Code 368

As mentioned before, California Penal Code 368, Elder Abuse, is the California law that makes it a crime to intentionally or recklessly cause or permit any elder or dependent adult to suffer physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering.

The elements of California Penal Code 368 include:

  1. The defendant is charged with committing an act of abuse or neglect;
  2. The victim was an elder or a dependent adult;
  3. The act was intentional or reckless;
  4. The act caused the victim to suffer physical harm or pain, or mental suffering; and
  5. The act was willful or with criminal negligence.

It is important to note that in California, an elder is defined as any person 65 years of age or older. A dependent adult is defined as any person between 18 and 64 years of age who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or protect his or her rights.

Penalties for violating California Penal Code 368

It is a serious crime to violate California penal Code 368 and, depending on the circumstances of the case, one could face severe penalties. In most cases, Elder Abuse is a felony, punishable by up to 4 years in state prison, a fine of up to $6,000 or both. If someone is convicted of willfully causing or permitting the elderly person to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, they may be sentenced up to 8 years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.

In some cases, a defendant may receive a harsher sentence if their victim was 70 years of age or older. For example, a defendant may face an additional and consecutive term of three years for inflicting great bodily injury upon the victim or for causing the victim’s death.

In addition to criminal charges, the defendant may also face civil action. The victim or his/her family may seek damages from the perpetrator in civil court. They may be able to obtain compensation for medical bills, emotional distress, and other damages.

Ultimately, violating California Penal Code 368 can lead to serious consequences, including possible jail time and significant fines. If you believe you or a loved one has been charged with the crime of Elder Abuse, it is important to contact a Los Angeles Elder Abuse Attorney immediately. A Los Angeles Elder Abuse Attorney will be able to explain Penal Code 368 in greater detail and provide guidance as to how you can get justice for yourself or your loved one.

Defenses Strategies Against Elder Abuse Charges in California

When charged with elder abuse under California Penal Code 368, there are several defenses that may be available to you. It is important to understand your rights and the potential defenses that may apply in your case.

Self Defense:

One of the most commonly used defenses in a case of elder abuse is that the defendant had a reasonable belief that their actions were necessary to protect themselves or another person. This defense applies when an individual believes they need to take some kind of protective action, even if their beliefs are not in line with the law.

Mistaken Identity:

Another defense that is often used in cases of elder abuse is mistaken identity. If someone is charged with elder abuse but can prove that they did not actually commit the act, then this could be used as a defense. Additionally, false accusations or evidence could be used as a defense if someone was wrongfully accused of elder abuse.

Defense of Duress or Necessity:

It is also possible for an individual to raise a defense of duress or necessity. This defense is used when someone was forced to do something out of fear of immediate danger or bodily harm. Additionally, those suffering from mental illness can use this defense if it can be proven that their mental illness caused them to act in a way that violated Penal Code 368.

It is important to remember that each case of elder abuse will be considered on its own merits. If you have been charged with elder abuse under California Penal Code 368, it is essential to speak to an experienced attorney who can provide legal advice and determine the best strategy for your case.

Legal Advice And Free Consultation

If you are facing an elder abuse charge in California, you need to take immediate action. A conviction under Penal Code 368 can result in substantial fines, jail time, and other penalties.

At KN Law Firm, we understand that elder abuse charges are serious matters that require experienced legal counsel. We Also understand that every case is unique and that the facts in your case will determine how we proceed. During our free consultation, we will thoroughly review the facts of your case and provide an honest assessment of your legal options. We will also explain the penalties associated with a conviction under Penal Code 368 and outline any available defense strategies that may be relevant to your situation.

Our team is dedicated to protecting your rights and providing you with the highest quality legal representation possible. We are committed to providing personalized attention and zealous advocacy throughout your case.

If you or someone you know is facing an elder abuse charge under California Penal Code 368, contact us today on the number (888) 950-0011 to schedule a Free Consultation. We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping you navigate this difficult situation.

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