Law Office of Michael L. Fell
900 Roosevelt Irvine, CA 92620
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A Hate Crime Can Be Charged as a Misdemeanor or a Felony in California

Certain criminal acts are considered hate crimes in the state of California. If the act was committed against a person and the act was motived by prejudice based on specifically covered characteristics, then the crime can be charged as a hate crim. Read on to learn more about these potential charges. If you are being charged with or accused of this type of crime contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.

Protected characteristics

There are certain characteristics that are protected by hate crime laws. They include race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, religion, or gender. In some cases, a person who is associated with one or more of these characteristics can also be the victim of a hate crime. These crimes can be charged as either misdemeanor or felony charges.

Examples of misdemeanor hate crimes

There are a few hate crimes that are misdemeanor offenses and are what’s known as “standalone” crimes. They include disrupting a religious meeting, interfering with a person’s legal or constitutional rights, or disturbing a lawful public meeting. Convictions for any of these charges can result in six months to a year in jail as well as heavy fines.

In other cases, a crime that would have been a crime regardless of the motivation can have additional consequences due to being designated a hate crime. These are what’s known as wobbler offenses, which means they can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, then they can add months or jail and fines.

Consequences of felony hate crimes

For more serious crimes that are charged as hate crimes, felony enhancements can be placed on a person. If the felony was committed as a hate crime then one, two, or three years can be added to the prison sentence. If the felony hate crime was committed with another person or people then two, three, or four years can be added to the sentence. For a person arrested for and convicted of subsequent hate crimes, an additional year in prison can be added for each previous felony hate crime conviction.

The potential for federal hate crimes

Depending on what you are charged with, you could be facing federal crimes in addition to or instead of state crimes. If you are charged with a federal hate crime then you could be facing decades in prison. This is a time when you must work with a criminal defense attorney who has legal experience in both state and federal jurisdictions. You have found such a person in Law Office of Michael L. Fell.

No matter what your charge is, now is the best time to contact an attorney for a free legal consultation. You can reach us at (949) 585-9055 and we will take the time to listen to your side of the story. We can then advise you on the best way to minimize the coming penalties.