Facing domestic violence charges involving elders and dependent adults under California Penal Code Section 368 is a grave matter with serious legal and personal consequences. These charges can result in jail or prison time, substantial fines, restraining orders, and long-term damage to your personal and professional reputation. Additionally, convictions can lead to the loss of professional licenses and permanent marks on your criminal record.

At The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we understand the profound impact these charges can have on your life. Our firm specializes in defending against domestic violence allegations, particularly those involving vulnerable individuals such as elders and dependent adults. We are committed to providing aggressive and personalized defense strategies to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact our office at (310) 448-1529 or fill out our online contact form to discuss your case.

Domestic Violence Against Elders & Dependent Adults Under California Law

Domestic violence against elders and dependent adults is defined under California Penal Code Section 368, which addresses abuse, neglect, and exploitation of individuals who are 65 years or older or adults who are dependent due to physical or mental limitations. This type of abuse is considered especially egregious because it targets some of the most vulnerable members of society.

Abuse can take many forms, and California law categorizes several specific actions as abuse against elders and dependent adults. These include:

  • Physical Harm: Any intentional act that causes physical injury, pain, or impairment. This can range from hitting, slapping, and pushing to more severe acts like kicking, burning, or using weapons.
  • Neglect: Failure to provide essential care, which includes food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and medical care. Neglect can occur when a caregiver fails to meet the basic needs of the elder or dependent adult, leading to harm or potential harm.
  • Financial Exploitation: Illegal or improper use of an elder’s or dependent adult’s funds, property, or assets. This includes acts such as theft, fraud, forgery, or misuse of power of attorney for financial gain.
  • Psychological Abuse: Infliction of mental anguish through verbal or nonverbal acts. This can include threats, harassment, intimidation, humiliation, or isolation. Psychological abuse aims to control or demean the victim, causing emotional distress.





    Additional Forms of Abuse

    Beyond these primary categories, there are other actions that California law recognizes as abuse against elders and dependent adults:

    • Abandonment: Leaving an elder or dependent adult alone without the ability to care for themselves.
    • Isolation: Intentionally preventing the elder or dependent adult from having contact with others.
    • Abduction: Taking an elder or dependent adult out of the state against their will or without consent.
    • Deprivation by a Caregiver: Withholding essential services or necessities required to prevent physical harm or mental suffering.

    Elements of the Crime

    To establish domestic violence against elders or dependent adults, the prosecution must prove several key elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

    1. Victim’s Status: The prosecution must prove that the alleged victim is either an elder (65 years or older) or a dependent adult (an adult with physical or mental limitations that restrict their ability to carry out normal activities or protect their rights).

    2. Relationship to the Victim: The alleged abuser must have a certain type of relationship with the victim, such as being a caregiver, family member, or someone who lives with or regularly visits the victim.

    3. Type of Abuse: The prosecution must demonstrate that the alleged conduct fits one of the recognized forms of abuse under California law. This includes physical harm, neglect, financial exploitation, or psychological abuse.

    Proving Intent: In addition to proving the victim’s status and the type of abuse, the prosecution must also demonstrate that the defendant acted willfully or with criminal negligence. This means showing that the defendant intentionally harmed the victim or recklessly disregarded their well-being.

    Common Types of Abuse Involved

    Physical Abuse: includes any intentional act causing physical harm or injury to an elder or dependent adult. This can involve hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, burning, or using weapons. Physical abuse is considered a severe offense due to the direct harm inflicted on the victim, often leading to substantial legal penalties such as imprisonment and fines.

    Emotional Abuse: Emotional or psychological abuse involves inflicting mental anguish through actions like threats, harassment, intimidation, humiliation, or isolation. Such abuse can have profound psychological impacts on the victim. Although sometimes harder to prove, emotional abuse can significantly enhance the severity of domestic violence charges, leading to penalties such as restraining orders and mandatory counseling.

    Financial Exploitation: refers to the illegal or improper use of an elder’s or dependent adult’s funds, property, or assets. Examples include theft, fraud, forgery, or misuse of power of attorney. Financial exploitation is heavily penalized due to its long-term consequences on the victim’s financial stability and independence. Convictions often result in substantial fines, restitution, and imprisonment.

    Neglect: involves failing to provide necessary care, including food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and medical care. Neglect can lead to significant health deterioration or death and is treated seriously by the courts. Depending on the severity of harm caused, neglect charges can range from misdemeanors to serious felonies, carrying substantial prison sentences and fines.

    elder domestic violence

    Potential Penalties and Consequences

    Jail or Prison Sentences:

    • Misdemeanor Convictions: Up to one year in county jail.
    • Felony Convictions: Two, three, or four years in state prison, depending on the severity of the abuse and the presence of any aggravating factors. In cases where serious bodily injury occurs, sentences can extend up to seven years.


    • Misdemeanor Convictions: Fines up to $6,000.
    • Felony Convictions: Fines up to $10,000.
    • Additional restitution payments to compensate the victim for medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.


    • Informal (Summary) Probation: Typically granted for misdemeanor convictions, involving regular check-ins with a probation officer, community service, and adherence to court-ordered conditions.
    • Formal Probation: Granted for felony convictions, requiring stricter monitoring and compliance with conditions such as mandatory counseling and substance abuse treatment programs.

    Mandatory Counseling: Offenders may be required to attend anger management classes, domestic violence counseling, or other rehabilitative programs as part of their probation conditions.

    Factors Affecting the Severity of Penalties:

    Extent of Harm: The more severe the injury to the victim, the harsher the penalties. For example, causing significant physical injury or emotional trauma can result in higher fines and longer prison sentences.

    Victim’s Age: The age of the victim can influence the severity of the penalties. Crimes against very elderly individuals (80 years or older) may attract more severe punishments due to their increased vulnerability.

    Prior Convictions: Defendants with previous convictions, especially for similar offenses, are likely to face stiffer penalties. Repeat offenders may receive enhanced sentences under California’s three strikes law.

    Circumstances of the Crime: Factors such as whether the abuse was intentional, premeditated, or part of a repeated pattern of behavior can impact the severity of the penalties. Crimes committed with malice or a high degree of recklessness are punished more severely.

    Aggravating Factors and Enhancements

    Serious Bodily Injury: Inflicting serious bodily injury on an elder or dependent adult significantly increases penalties. For instance, causing broken bones, severe bruising, or life-threatening injuries can result in longer prison sentences and higher fines.

    Repeat Offenses: Offenders with prior convictions for similar crimes face enhanced penalties. Under California’s three strikes law, a third felony conviction can result in a life sentence.

    Abuse Resulting in Death: If the abuse leads to the death of the elder or dependent adult, the charges can escalate to manslaughter or murder, carrying life sentences or the death penalty.

    Use of Weapons: Using a weapon during the commission of the abuse can lead to enhanced charges and penalties. The presence of a weapon indicates a higher level of threat and intent to cause harm.

    Multiple Victims: Cases involving multiple victims can result in compounded charges and more severe penalties, reflecting the increased harm and risk to the individuals involved.

    Why Choose The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi?

    When facing serious charges of domestic violence against elders and dependent adults, you need a defense attorney with extensive experience and a proven track record. Attorney Arash Hashemi has been an active member of The State Bar of California since December 2002. On his second day as a lawyer, Arash was already in court, participating in a bench trial. Over the years, he has handled a wide variety of criminal cases, from simple misdemeanors to complex felonies, including those involving vulnerable individuals.

    Arash Hashemi has represented thousands of clients accused of domestic violence, ensuring their rights are protected throughout the legal process. He is admitted to practice before all California State Courts and the United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Central, and Southern Districts of California. Currently serving as the 2024 President of the Criminal Courts Bar Association, Arash brings a wealth of knowledge, dedication, and a deep understanding of California’s criminal justice system to every case he handles.

    Contact A Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney Today

    For expert legal assistance with your domestic violence charges, contact The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi. With over 20 years of experience in criminal defense, Attorney Arash Hashemi and his team are dedicated to providing professional, effective legal representation. We understand the serious implications of these charges and are committed to providing a solid defense to protect your rights and future.

    Los Angeles Elder Abuse Defense Lawyer Penal Code 368 PC

    Take the first step towards defending your rights and securing a favorable outcome. We are here to provide the support and legal expertise you need to navigate this challenging time. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and start building your defense.







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      Disclaimer: The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is not intended to predict outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please contact our law firm directly.