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Call Today! 310-430-7799
Okabe & Haushalter

Los Angeles Hate Crime Attorney

Los Angeles Hate Crime Lawyer

We Can Defend You Against State Or Federal Hate Crime Charges

One of the most controversial and harshly prosecuted crimes is that of a hate crime. A hate crime is termed as such as it is a crime done against either an individual or a group of people based solely on either their race, religion, sexual orientation, or another defining factor. Nearly half of committed hate crimes are based solely on race. Many people view the action of a hate crime as a direct assault on the values of America as the country is founded on the beliefs of equality and freedom for all.

For this reason, those who are charged with a hate crime should realize that they are facing severe penalties. Hate crimes can either be tried as a misdemeanor or a felony, based solely on the severity of the alleged crime. Examples of hate crimes include such things as forcefully injuring another party, threatening, defacing property, and desecrating a religious symbol. If you have been wrongfully accused of a hate crime, you cannot leave your future up to chance. It is of vital importance that you do not hesitate to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

What California Law Says About Hate Crimes?

Unlike many other states across the country, California specifically codifies hate crimes into law. We can see this when we examine Penal Code Sections 422.55, 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75 PC.

  • Penal Code 422.55 PC – this law in California defines hate crimes as criminal actions committed based on a victim’s actual or perceived:
    • Gender
    • Nationality
    • Disability
    • Ethnicity
    • Race
    • Origin
    • Sexual orientation
    • Association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics
  • Penal Code 422.6 PC – this law makes it a standalone crime for a person to commit a hate crime, which differs from how other states handle these crimes. Often, hate crimes can only be charged if they are enhancements to other crimes already committed.
  • Penal Code 422.7 PC – this law specifically imposes additional penalties on an accused if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor and that misdemeanor is proven to be a hate crime.
  • Penal Code 422.75 PC – this law imposes a sentence enhancement on a person if they have been convicted of a felony and the felony is proven to be a hate crime.

Most Common Hate Crime Charges in Los Angeles

When we look at the annual report released by Los Angeles County related to hate crimes, we want to point out that the US Justice Department has said that as much as 54% of hate-motivated crimes are not reported to law enforcement. So, as we examine how many hate crimes occur in our area, please understand that this is incomplete data. The occurrence of hate crimes is likely far higher than reports suggest.

During the latest reporting gear in Los Angeles County, there were 524 hate crimes reported. This represents a 30% increase over the 30-year low seen in 2013.

  • 49% of all hate crimes surrounded race-related incidents.
  • 47% of these incidents targeted African Americans.
  • Sexual orientation crimes dropped 22% and made up 19% of the total hate crimes committed.
  • 85% of sexual orientation hate crimes targeted gay men.
  • Anti-transgender hate crimes rose 64%.
  • Religious hate crimes grew 11% and accounted for 19% of all hate crimes.
  • 89% of religious hate crimes were anti-Semitic.
  • There were 48 hate crimes where suspects use specifically anti-immigrant language.

Federal Hate Crime Law

The US Justice Department has been enforcing federal hate crimes laws since 1968. When federal hate crime statutes were first passed, it made it illegal to use or threatened to use force “to willfully interfere with any person because of race, color, religion, or national origin and because the person is participating in a federally protected activity, such as public education, employment, jury service, travel, or the enjoyment of public accommodations, or helping another person to do so.”

In 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act expanded the federal definition of hate crimes. This enhanced the ability of prosecutors to pursue certain offenses that occurred and added new federal protections based on a person’s gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Aggressive Defense For Hate Crimes In Los Angeles

At Okabe & Haushalter, we have the knowledge and resources needed to successfully defend those who have been accused of hate crimes. If you are convicted, you can face life-altering consequences, with punishments such as extended imprisonment and steep monetary fines. These should not be taken lightly; you need to ensure that you are being given the comprehensive, tenacious legal defense that you deserve.

Have you been accused of a hate crime? Don’t wait another minute; contact a Los Angeles criminal attorney for the legal defense and representation you need.