Generally speaking, hate crimes are based on race, sexual orientation, religion, or other defining factors. In the state of California, the majority of these types of offenses are based on race. Hate crimes are vigorously prosecuted; those who are convicted face serious criminal penalties, as these types of crimes are viewed harshly by the public, who feel that hate crimes are a direct assault in a country founded on freedom and equality for all citizens.
The Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at The Justice Firm hope to inform readers regarding hate crimes, and the fact that these are not separate distinct crimes, but instead traditional criminal offenses such as murder, assault, or other crimes which may be motivated by bias. For instance, an individual may be the target of assault or another offense primarily because he or she is homosexual or of a different nationality. In some cases the FBI or other federal agencies may participate in investigating or prosecuting the alleged offender, which often results in penalties which are even more harsh.Los Angeles Hate Crime Defense Attorneys
Anyone accused of a hate crime may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the underlying crime and the individual's criminal history. Some of the most common types of hate crimes include defacing property, threatening another person, forcible injury, and desecrating a religious symbol. Under California Penal Code sections 422.55, 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75, individuals may face enhanced or additional punishment when an added element of threatening, harassing, or injuring someone because of that person's race, gender, disability, or sexual preference exists.
It is important to consult with a highly experienced LA criminal defense lawyer right away when accused of a hate crime. Our number one priority is to protect our clients' legal rights and freedom. By taking swift action, you may be able to avoid charges; however when this is not the case, we are ready to provide you with the vigorous legal representation necessary to obtain positive results.California Criminal Penalties for Hate Crimes
The issue of penalties handed down for hate crimes is a bit complex because of the nature of the crimes, and whether the offense was based solely on the characteristics of an individual's make up such as race, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc.
If the crime is a "stand alone" crime meaning you destroy or damage someone's property or interfere with their constitutional or legal rights because for instance that individual is gay, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. Penalties may include a fine of up to $5,000, jail time of up to one year, and up to 400 hours of community service.
Penal Code 422.7 describes hate crimes under circumstances in which a traditional misdemeanor crime is committed, but the offense is also considered a hate crime. There are specific elements which must be proven; this type of offense may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, and is considered a "wobbler" in California law. Penalties may include a fine of up to $10,000, formal probation, and up to 3 years in prison.
These are just a few examples of the penalties you may face if convicted of a hate crime in Los Angeles. The penalties you may face depend on many factors.Contact The Justice Firm now
Hate crimes should be taken very seriously by those who live in Los Angeles and surrounding cities, as they are aggressively prosecuted and punished. Whether you are under investigation or have already been arrested or charged, do not put your reputation and freedom at risk. Contact The Justice Firm now for a free consultation at 310-914-2444.