Elder Abuse Defense

Elder Abuse is a special kind of abuse that is described in Penal Code 368. Because elders and dependent adults are in an especially vulnerable position due to illness, medications, confusion and/or mental or physical impairment, the legislature made laws to specifically protect them.

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A charge of elder abuse can carry an additional stigma because of the vulnerable nature of the victim. Immediately consulting the Law Office of Rudolph E. Loewenstein office is the best offense to this serious charge. Our early intervention may change or even eliminate the way the prosecution proceeds.

We have found that often times family members are forced to make difficult decisions that may be questioned later. Taking care of an elderly person can be challenging and heart wrenching. Being accused of a crime is often like rubbing salt in a wound. If this happens to you, the need for a strong, assertive advocate is essential. Many times decisions that a family member makes or a caretaker’s actions are questioned after they occur. These decisions are often innocent when made yet look questionable at best or criminal at worst when looked back on. The saying that, “Hindsight is 20/20” has never been more true than when difficult decisions are questioned later by those who weren’t there to make the hard calls themselves. This is often the case in dealing with elder abuse accusations. Many times actions were taken at the request of the elder but the relatives and others think those decisions were made for the benefit of the person now accused. We can help to establish that no crime at all occurred and accusations are not proof of wrongdoing.

Elder abuse can take four different forms:

  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Neglect, either by self or caregiver

Elder abuse laws came into being to protect this vulnerable group of people. The legislature takes the position that often the people in charge of the elderly have a special, fiduciary relationship with them. Because of this relationship of trust, it is easier for abuse to go unreported, as the people who would be likely to report it can be the very same people who are causing it. If the elderly understand the abuse they may be embarrassed or afraid to report it. Many times it is discovered by a bank, family member or physician.

All forms of elder abuse involve other underlying crimes. Physical abuse may encompass assault, battery, even attempted murder or homicide. Financial abuse my involve identity theft, auto theft, or grand theft. Many times people who steal from the elderly don’t really intend to permanently deprive them. They think they are borrowing the money for a short period but then find they are not able to repay it as they originally intended.

In many counties, elder abuse is prosecuted by a special unit within the District Attorney’s office. This is done so that the prosecution is handled correctly which often translates to a more zealous prosecution. Because of that, you need an attorney who is as well versed in the subject as the deputy district attorneys in the special elder abuse unit. What is especially important for someone accused of elder abuse to remember is that your actions may be looked at as criminal because of the motivation of the accuser, NOT because of what was actually done by you.

The Law Offices of Rudolph E. Loewenstein have been handling cases of this nature, as well as all the underlying criminal charges, for 30+ years. According to the sentencing rules, if you are convicted of elder abuse you can expect harsher penalties because the rules assume you abused a position of trust. Because of that it is essential that you have a strong advocate on your side. A thorough knowledge of these special circumstances is crucial in formulating your defense.