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A hate crime is an offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias against a certain race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. A hate crime can also be threats or harassment made by an individual against another individual, organization or group based on this bias. The charge of a hate crime is very serious.
A person can be charged with committing a hate crime for the following offenses:
- He or she commits a specified offense and intentionally selects the person the offense is committed against because of a belief or perception regarding race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.
- He or she commits a specified offense and intentionally commits the offense because of a belief or perception regarding race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person.
Consulting a Hate Crimes Attorney
If you have been accused of a hate crime, consult an attorney immediately. While laws vary by state, the punishment for hate crimes can be severe and almost always include jail time. Even an action that without the racial component would be considered relatively minor (as in a fist fight), if the action is deemed a hate crime the penalties increase significantly.
There can be a lot of gray area when it comes to a possible hate crime. Speak to an experienced attorney in your area immediately to learn about your right and to begin preparing the best possible defense. It is very important that your attorney has a good understanding of these types of offenses. Search for an experienced hate crimes attorney in your area today.
Click to learn about Hate Crime Law on LawInfo.