As a state with many immigrants and much diversity, you would imagine that it is quite peaceful. Unfortunately, however, according to data released by the FBI, not only has the number of hate crimes increased by 17 percent nationally but in the state of New Jersey, that number jumped to a whopping 76 percent due to a total of 500 incidents.
Bias Intimidation of Protected Classes
In the state of New Jersey, hate crimes are considered to be “bias intimidation.” According to section 2C:16-1 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, bias intimidation occurs when an individual commits a crime against another person or acts with the intent to intimidate them due to a list of protected classes. These classes include:
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Identity
- National Origin
Elements of Bias Intimidation
In other words, assuming that the individual in question is guilty of the underlying crime, to prove bias intimidation (a hate crime), the state must prove the following:
- The crime was committed with the purpose to intimidate another individual or group of individuals based upon one of the aforementioned protected classes; or
- The defendant knew that the crime would cause that individual or group to be intimidated; or
- The crime was committed under circumstances that caused a crime victim to be intimidated and the victim reasonably believed that the purpose of the crime was to intimidate the victim or someone close to them, or that the victim’s property was chosen as the target for purposes of intimidation. (This still requires the defendant to have the intent to intimidate.)
When an individual who commits a crime does so based upon bias intimidation, the levels of punishment and imprisonment automatically increase. If someone is convicted of both crime and bias intimidation regarding that crime, he or she is not permitted to serve their punishment concurrently, but rather they must be served separately.
The Law Office of Michele Alcalde Can Help Those Arrested or Charged with Hate Crimes in the State of New Jersey
When you have been charged with a hate crime in the state of New Jersey, the potential ramifications of a conviction can have an extremely serious and generally severe impact. This includes possible jail time and leaving you with a permanent criminal record, which would affect all aspects of your life from employment to housing to relationships. That’s why it is so important to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable and experienced NJ criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
At the Law Office of Michele Alcalde, we fully grasp the significance that a hate crime conviction can have on you and will work to either reduce your sentence or eliminate your charges. To learn more about the consequences of hate crimes in New Jersey or to schedule a consultation, contact us online or call us at 732-766-1407 today!
Posted in: Hate Crimes