Some criminal charges sound more intimidating than others. Hearing that you have been charged with a hate crime can sound utterly terrifying. After all, you could face decades in prison if you are convicted, and you may not know exactly what you are up against. So, how should you proceed if you are charged with a hate crime? These are some of the things you need to understand.
What Exactly Is a Hate Crime?
"Hate crime" is more than a buzzword. It's actually a type of crime you could be charged with, even falsely. Hate crime charges are not always clear before you get to trial. So, there are a few instances in which it is clear that a crime is a hate crime. For example, shouting a slur at somebody as you punch them or vandalizing a monument with a racial or religious slur could lead to these types of charges.
Hate crimes can elevate other crimes, including those like assault and even homicide. Instead of facing a penalty for assault, for example, you might face a penalty for assault plus additional punishment for a hate crime.
Who Can Be the Victim of a Hate Crime?
Hate crimes are those that target certain elements of identity. For example, you could be charged with a hate crime for actions related to religion, nationality, race, or gender identity. Even age is part of the protected class. Organizations or individuals can be the victims.
Keep in mind that even people in protected classes can be charged with hate crimes. Each case is different and must be taken seriously.
What Can Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?
There are some steps that a criminal defense lawyer can take to help you through your case. For example, they may be able to prove that you did not participate in a hate crime. They may bring evidence to show that the charges do not fit with the available evidence.
Your lawyer can also prove that you were not the individual who took the actions being alleged. For example, maybe somebody else in the group you were with participated in these actions
One Thing Is Certain: You Need Help
If you have been charged with a hate crime, you need a criminal defense lawyer on your side. It can be difficult for you to get the assistance you need with your case if you do not hire professional help with your defense. Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer to see if you have a case.