Hate crimes are typically violent in nature but can involve just about any type of criminal act that involves violence or intimidation that is motivated by prejudice, bias or hate. A variety of violent crimes can fall under the umbrella of hate crime. This can include assaults, battery, murder, threats, vandalism and even robbery or destruction of property. These crimes are different than traditional violent crimes, because they are motivated by prejudice or bias and direction at a person for being part of a particular group or even for just being perceived as being part of a certain group. Since most hate crimes are considered felonies, it’s essential to get in touch with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
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Crimes Motivated by Bias, Prejudice and Hate
Hate crimes are motivated by bias, prejudice or hate. The victims in these crimes are chosen for belonging to a certain group. These are the types of crimes we hear about when people are singled out or victimized due to their religion or sexual orientation. If a crime is motivated by the color of one’s skin, nationality or immigration status, that could be classified as a hate crime. When a victim is identified, chosen and targeted for being part of a particular social, ethnic, racial, gender or other type of group, that person could be the victim of a violent hate crime. Listed below are just some of the different factors that can be associated with how victims of hate crimes are chosen.
Choosing Victims That Belong to Certain Groups
- Skin color
- Immigration status
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
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Perceived, Actual or Mistaken Victim Identity
It’s important to understand that the victim doesn’t actually have to be a member of a certain group in order for you to be charged with a hate crime. That person can be mistaken for or simply perceived as being a member of a certain group and targeted, that might be enough to get charged with a hate crime. This is the type of case we see where a victim is a Sikh is mistaken for a Muslim or Arab person and targeted in a hate crime. Although the intention is a hate crime against a Muslim or Arab person, the reality is that somebody who belongs to neither of those groups was victimized because the perpetrator mistakenly identified the victim as belonging to the group he or she was biased against. You can still be charged with and potentially convicted of a hate crime in this type of case, so the sooner you speak with a criminal defense attorney about your case, the better.
Potential Determining Factors in a Hate Crime
- Defendant was a member of a group that advocates hate of other groups
- The defendant possesses literature or symbols associated with hate or bias
- The defendant used slurs during the commission of the crime
- The defendant’s own writing, whether in tattoos or online involves bias or hate
Implications of a Hate Crime Conviction
In the scheme of things, hate crimes are particularly damaging to one’s long-term reputation. Being convicted of a hate crime is essentially like being labeled a racist, sexist or some other form of bigot, for life. Beyond the incarceration, fines and other losses to freedom and liberty, there is a very bad stigma associated with those who have been convicted of hate crimes. It doesn’t just go away. If you or somebody you love has been charged with any kind of hate crime, you need to get with a criminal defense attorney immediately about your case.
Potential Penalties of a Hate Crime Conviction
- Hefty fines
- Loss of the right to vote
- Mandatory rehab
- Mandatory public service
Hate Crime Defense Lawyer
If convicted of a hate crime, you could be looking a time in a federal correctional facility, hefty fines, restitution, probation, counseling, loss of professional or driver’s license and a wide variety of other penalties, and that’s just the beginning. You need an attorney on your side who understands the long-term implications of a potential hate crime conviction. If you or somebody you love has been arrested and charged with any type of hate crime Jackson or in any of the surrounding communities, contact the experienced and proven team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation.