Hate Crimes

Los Angeles Hate Crime Lawyer

Criminal Offenses Motivated by Bias

A hate crime involves threats, harassment, criminal trespassing, arson, vandalism, assault and/or physical injury motivated by prejudice against a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity or disability. A conviction in a hate crime case typically results in harsher penalties such as longer jail sentences. If you have been charged with a hate crime, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney for skilled legal counsel. Hate crime cases can be extremely volatile and will require representation by a confident lawyer knowledgeable in hate crime statutes.

Various misdemeanor offenses that are determined to be a hate crime can end up being charged as a felony. A restraining order can also be issued in a hate crime case to prevent any further contact between the alleged offender and the individual or group that the crime was committed against. Our firm will be able to explain the laws in more detail and discuss appropriate defense strategies.

Martinian & Associates is an experienced criminal defense firm that can provide the representation needed in a hate crime case. We are capable litigators that will ensure your constitutional rights are protected during legal proceedings. Sentencing in a hate crime will be influenced by the severity of the crime, the use of a deadly weapon, the degree of injuries suffered by the victim, that amount and type of property damage that occurred, and the criminal history of the defendant.

California and Nationwide Hate Crime Laws

Laws pertaining to hate crimes can be both civil and criminal. For example, the Ralph Act is a civil code that guarantees individuals and their property the right to safety and freedom from violence due to their race, color, religion, sex, etc. This act is found in Civil Code 51.7 and 52. Therefore, if someone's house was vandalized explicitly because of their race, the perpetrators could potentially be fined up to $25,000 in civil penalties as a remedy to the victims of the hate crime. While national laws forbidding bias crimes are well known, such as the Civil Rights Act and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994), state laws are not as well known. Listed below are some of the more prominent California hate crime penal code statutes:

CPC § 422.6(a): Attempting or actually interfering by force or threat of force with a person's constitutional rights because of their race, religion, disability, etc. is considered a misdemeanor offense. The penalties are a maximum $5,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

CPC § 422.7: Any criminal offense that would normally be considered a misdemeanor can be enhanced to a felony if it is determined that the offense was bias-motivated. For example, it might be a misdemeanor to vandalize a home but a felony to vandalize a church (religious bias). The maximum penalty is up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

CPC § 422.75: A criminal sentence can be enhanced by one to three years for crimes committed against individuals of certain groups. For a list of these groups, please refer to this section of the penal code.

Because it is difficult to determine intent, you may very well have been wrongfully accused of a hate crime. To learn more about the steps you can take toward your defense, contact a Los Angeles criminal attorney at our firm as soon as possible.

Penalties for Hate Crimes

  • Lengthy jail sentence
  • Heavy fines
  • Restitution to victims
  • Court-ordered counseling

Attorneys at our firm can be relied on to provide competent legal counsel throughout your case, and execute aggressive defense strategies. If you have been charged with any hate crime, contact our team for a free case evaluation. We will do our utmost to protect your rights and fight for you.

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