In this divisive political landscape, many people have developed strong – and often misguided – opinions of various groups of people. No matter what you believe, it is always important to think before you act. However, if you have recently been charged with a crime that authorities intend on prosecuting as a hate crime, there are greater penalties and even more consequences about which to be concerned.
What Qualifies as a Hate Crime?
The first thing that you should know is what makes a crime different from a more serious hate crime. A hate crime is a crime that is motivated by specific intent and is any illegal activity that you commit based upon a personal bias against a protected class of people. Protected classes include race, religion, color, national origin, and sexual orientation.
For example, an individual who assaults someone else for no reason may be charged with assault, but an individual who assaults someone else due to their religion may be charged. The same can be said for any other protected class of people – if a defendant assaults someone else based on race, religion, color, natural origin, and sexual orientation, he or she can be found guilty of a hate crime.
There are certain facts that are important to know about hate crimes. Such facts include:
- Vandalism of religious property may constitute a hate crime
- Only when hateful speech against a protected class is accompanied by threats or incites violence, is it to be considered a hate crime
- If terrorism is carried out due to a bias against a group of people, it may be classified as a hate crime
- It is not necessary that the alleged victim actually belongs to the protected class of people – just that the perpetrator believed that he or she belonged to such a group.
It is sometimes difficult to truly know what someone’s intent was, as it is solely in that individual’s own mind. But since there is a high interest in protecting communities and providing them peace of mind, hate crimes are subject to higher penalties.
Arizona Lawyers Helps Those in Arizona Who Have Been Charged with a Hate Crime
If you are charged with a hate crime, it is imperative that you understand the significance of such a charge. If convicted, it can negatively impact you and your ability to make money – not to mention your reputation, which is nearly impossible to rebuild. With such high stakes, it is very important that you consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney.
At Arizona Lawyers, we work tirelessly to obtain the best outcome for you, whether that is minimizing your penalties or getting the charges dropped altogether. We always do what is in the best interest of our clients. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 602-833-2513 today!