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Orange County Elder Abuse Defense Attorney

Accused of Penal Code 368?

Elder abuse is taken seriously by police and the district attorney; those agencies have their own division to investigate, arrest, and convict those accused. If you have been arrested for elder abuse, you need to contact the Orange County domestic abuse lawyers at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 right now. We have a successful track record of handling elder abuse cases throughout Orange County.

Our Orange County elder abuse attorneys understand the emotional toll that taking care of an elderly person has, which sometimes can lead to an emotional breakdown or legitimate accident. The problem is police, doctors, and social workers don't always know the signs of an actual accident and report the suspected elder abuse; sometimes they report it simply to avail themselves against any possible liability.

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What Is The Crime of Elder Abuse?

Under Penal Code (PC) 368, elder abuse, sometimes known as senior abuse, is not only the physical abuse of elders, but includes financial abuse, neglect, endangerment, and emotional abuse. In order to prove that you committed elder abuse, prosecutors must show that you willfully or negligently put an elder through unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering or you allowed another person to do so; your conduct occurred under circumstances that were likely to produce great bodily injury or death; and you reasonably should have known that the alleged victim was an elder.

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Two Crucial Elements a Prosecutor Must Prove

  • You were in charge. It's important to understand that you can only be charged with elder abuse by criminal negligence only if you have a legal duty to act. If you were in charge of taking care of an elderly person and neglect to do so, you could be arrested; however, if the elderly person was not in your care—even though you see signs of abuse—you cannot be arrested for this crime.
  • The case involved great bodily harm. This refers to injuries that are significant and/or substantial rather than superficial injuries. However, in elder abuse cases, great bodily harm does not have to occur for you to be charged with this crime—only that the situation could have allowed the elderly person to suffer great bodily harm. An experienced OC elder abuse lawyer can help, because whether or not a situation could have resulted in an elderly person having great bodily harm can be debatable.

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Potential Defense Strategies for OC Elder Abuse Accusations

As elders age, they sometimes display signs and symptoms of elder abuse. As previously mentioned, doctors, police, social workers, and the like are required to report suspected elder abuse; however, if they are wrong, they are not held criminally liable, which means there is no pressing reason for them to investigate the alleged abuse themselves, only simply protect their jobs and reputation.

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Defense Options If You're Facing Elder Abuse Charges

  • Falsely Accused - We have seen several cases where the suspect is falsely accused. There have been situations where the elderly person just does not like the caregiver and starts making up wild stories that leads to an arrest. Other cases have shown the caregiver and elderly patient have developed a very close relationship, which makes other family members jealous, causing them to call authorities making up false accusations against the caregiver.
  • It Was an Accident - Taking care of our elderly is a delicate job and sometimes even the best trained caregivers cannot avoid an accident. While it is unfortunate that the elderly patient has to suffer, as long as the accident did not rise to the level of criminal negligence, you cannot be guilty.
  • Lack of Evidence - If you are arrested for elder abuse and it's "their word against your word" with no evidence to back up this accusation, then you cannot be guilty of this crime. Again, doctors, police, and like must report signs of elder abuse, but perhaps the evidence will show the alleged abuse is really something that happens with old age. Also, we can show you are not guilty of elder abuse and in fact have routinely cared for your patient with receipts for drugs, food bills, and even records from regular doctor visits. This can prove you have taken good care of the elderly patient.

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Additional Crimes Related to Domestic Violence

In addition to facing charges under PC 368, depending on the details in your case, you could face additional charges such as PC 242 battery and even PC 187 murder. If the alleged elder abuse was somebody related to you, it is possible to face domestic violence charges. This is why you must contact a domestic abuse lawyer right now so we can work to reduce charges.

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"I was awoken one morning with cops outside my door to arrest me for elder abuse. My father got me in touch with Orange County elder abuse attorney Michael L. Guisti, who said it was just her word against mine and there was no evidence. Before I knew it Mr. Guisti called me and said the case had been dismissed. Mr. Guisti is awesome!"

Client's rating: 5 of 5

If Convicted of Elder Abuse...

Elder abuse under PC 368 is a "wobbler," which means it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony. Whether it's charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends on the facts in the case and your criminal history. It's best to set up an appointment with one of our experienced defense attorneys so we can go over your case and work with the Orange County District Attorney to possibly reduce charges.

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Misdemeanor vs. Felony Elder Abuse

If convicted of misdemeanor elder abuse, you face up to 1 year in Orange County jail and a fine up to $6,000 or $10,000; if this is a subsequent offense, you could also face restitution to the elderly victim and informal probation. If convicted of felony elder abuse, you face between 2 to 4 years in a state prison and a $10,000 fine; if the victim suffered great bodily injury or death, you could face an additional and consecutive 3 to 7 year sentence and a potential strike on your record per California's Three Strikes Law.

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Call OC Elder Abuse Defense Attorney Michael L. Guisti Now!

As you can see, elder abuse is taken very seriously—even a genuine mistake or misunderstanding can land you in very serious trouble, which is why you need to contact our elder abuse defense attorneys. Depending on the details in your case, it is possible you could even face battery, fraud, theft, domestic violence, and/or even murder charges. Call Law Office of Michael L. Guisti now so a skilled Irvine criminal lawyer can work to reduce charges against you and keep you out of jail.

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Additional Information

Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

(714) 530-9690

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Client Reviews

“It was strongly recommended that I call federal defense attorney Michael L. Guisti. He had several investigators look at records and such, and my federal case was dismissed. Michael Guisti does what few attorneys can do, beat the federal government, and that is why if you’re in trouble with the government you need to call Michael Guisti right away!”

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“I had everything to lose, my future, my education. Basically I did something that got me a misdemeanor, and the judge wanted to give a guilty plea. But Michael Guisti would not back down. Instead he fought for me, and now my record is clean.”

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“Back in 2003 I was facing attempted murder. My family hired Michael Guisti to represent me. He is a very good attorney. He always answered my calls, addressed my questions and concerns, and kept me updated about my case. Thank you Michael Guisti for winning my case. I highly recommend anyone facing a criminal charge to see Michael Guisti.”

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Case Results

sex crimes

Case Dropped

Young man charged and arrested for sexual battery.


Case Dropped

Man charged with assault with a deadly weapon for hitting someone in the face with a heavy metal dust pan.

drug crimes

Served Less Than 30 Days in Jail

Young man charged with selling 1000 tabs of ecstasy to undercover officer.

Attempted Murder

Reduced to Assault With Deadly Weapon

Young man knocks the eye out his victim with a metal pipe. Charged with attempted murder and aggravated mayhem. Both cases carried life sentences.

Assault & Battery

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Woman arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon using scissors on a co-worker.

Vehicular Assault

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Man charged with three felony counts of vehicular assault with a deadly weapon.


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Orange County Elder Neglect Defense Lawyer Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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