A hate crime is essentially a crime committed against an individual because of that individual’s race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin, gender, disability or sexual orientation.  Hate crimes include a range of crimes including assault, assault with a weapon, robbery, harassment, vandalism, rape, and murder.  Usually, hate crime laws are designed to protect individuals based on actual or perceived characteristics.  Most states prosecute hate crimes fervently in order to combat racism, sexism, and other prejudices that threaten peace within a community.

The actual elements and characteristics that constitute a hate crime vary between each state.  If you have questions concerning the hate crime laws in your state, contact a criminal defense attorney in your state.  Some states acknowledge hate crimes.  Other states limit hate crimes to crimes of violence.  And, still other states have no hate crime legislation whatsoever.  An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine if your state has enacted hate crime laws and can help you understand what those laws entail.

Florida law makes any incidents of criminal acts that evidence prejudice based on race, religion, ethnicity, color, ancestry, sexual orientation or national origin illegal.  In addition, Florida law criminalizes damage done to places of worship.  This law in particular also provides penalties for minors.

Moreover, Florida law provides for an enhanced or aggravated sentence for an individual convicted of a hate crime.  Similarly, Florida law also provides for an increased sentence if the perpetrator of the hate crime was wearing a hood or mask during the commission of the crime.  An individual convicted of a hate crime can face several severe penalties including long-term imprisonment, probation, high fines, and mandatory community service or rehabilitation.

If you are facing charges for a hate crime, contact a criminal defense attorney in your area.  A criminal defense attorney can help you through the legal process and can help you obtain the best results.

Contact Pagan & Stroleny P.L. today for all of your Miami Dade or Broward county criminal cases.  Attorneys at Pagan & Stroleny P.L. have the qualifications and expertise necessary to resolve your case.  Call us today at 305-615-1285 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we will fight to defend your rights.  Pagan & Stroleny, P.L. is ready to handle your case with the best defense strategy.   For more information about our firm and about Florida laws, visit us online at www.pslaw.org.