Posted on: March 11, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75

Orange County Criminal Defense AttorneyIn California, a hate crime is a crime committed against a person, property, or group when the crime is motivated by an alleged bias or hatred towards the apparent race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, gender identity, or other characteristic represented by the victimized person, property, or group. If there is evidence of hate on the part of a suspect, that suspect can be additionally charged with a hate crime. If you’re accused of any crime in Orange County and authorities charge it as a hate crime, arrange immediately to contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

California’s hate crime laws work in two ways. Under California Penal Code 422.6, it is a crime to interfere with someone else’s civil rights or to damage or destroy someone else’s property because of that person’s racial, ethnic, or other protected traits. Under California Penal Code 422.7 and 422.75, if you commit a crime like assault or vandalism, and you are motivated in part because of the victim’s racial, ethnic, or other protected traits, your offense will be considered a hate crime, and your sentence for the original crime can be enhanced.

For most felonies in California, that enhancement is one to four years, although it depends on the crime itself and the circumstances. Enhancements for misdemeanor hate crime convictions can include community service, fines, and in some cases up to a year in jail. In addition to a criminal conviction, you could also be sued by the victim or victims in civil court.

To convict you of a hate crime, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a motivating factor was your intention to interfere with an individual’s or a group’s civil rights. That’s not always easy to prove, and it’s a reason why you must have a good criminal defense attorney fighting for justice on your behalf. If you’re charged with any hate crime in Orange County, take your case to an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.