Crimes carried out for the specific purpose of targeting a certain protected classes are treated exceptionally serious by the government. Whether the crime was motivated wholly or in part by the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, prosecutors charging individuals pursuant to the Hate Crime statute tend to implement a strict stance when it comes to plea bargaining and sentencing.
A hate crime charge is typically tacked onto another substantive crime where prosecutors believe the evidence supports that the defendant carried out an attack due to a victim’s specific characteristics. Some of the more common substantive, underlying charges lending way to a hate crime enhancement include assault, reckless endangerment, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, menacing, harassment, rape, and homicide.
Misdemeanors and Class “C,” “D,” or “E” Felonies:
A conviction of committing a hate crime that is usually classified as one of these offenses will raise the punishment to that for an offense one category higher. For example, a class D felony offense that is convicted as a hate crime will be sentenced as a class C felony, and so on.
Class B Felony:
When the original offense is classified as a Class “B” felony, a hate crime conviction will come with a minimum prison sentence of several years, with the precise length to be determined based on the specific underlying offense.
Class A-1 Felony:
When a Class “A-1” felony charge results in a hate crime conviction, the defendant will receive a minimum prison sentence of 20 years.
Your defense against hate crimes is crucial. Importantly, a well-experienced defense attorney will attack the most important element of this statute by convincing the government or a jury that the crime, if even committed, was not motivated by a specific bias towards a protected class.
If you are being prosecuted for a hate crime, hire a former prosecutor and preeminent defense attorney who has dealt with these charges on both sides of the courtroom. Being charged with these offenses can have a lasting impact. The steps your defense attorney takes, by way of investigation and creative advocacy, will increase your chances of successfully walking away from these accusations and shape the rest of your life.
The sooner you put your case in the hands of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more opportunity you will have to work toward a favorable outcome.