Hate Crimes in Virginia

Posted By David L. Carlson, Attorney At Law || 30-Dec-2015

Hate crimes are offenses which are committed against specific individuals based on their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation. When an individual commits assault or assault and battery against the mentioned groups, the offense is associated with more severe penalties than simple assault.

The following evidence must be determined if bias had been demonstrated by the defendant:

  • Date of the crime correlates with a significant holiday, date, or anniversary which is associated with bias and hate towards a specific group or groups
  • Defendant has a membership with a group which advocates hatred of specific groups
  • Defendant’s own writing, whether it’s found online or e-mail, graffiti or tattoos, which depict hate towards specific groups
  • Defendant owns literature or symbols relating to bias
  • Defendant used biased slurs and insults during the crime

While the United States protects our freedom of speech, it also protects us from undeserved hatred. According to Va. Code § 18.2-57, if an individual commits assault against someone specifically due to their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation, then it is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor with an additional six months in jail (mandatory 30-day minimum period of incarceration). If assault and battery is committed, which results in injury to another individual, the offense is drastically increased to a Class 6 felony, punishable by one to five years in prison or a maximum fine of $2,500, or both.

If you were wrongly convicted of a hate crime in Virginia, contact our Richmond criminal defense attorneys to schedule a free consultation today.

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