Has someone accused you of being guilty of a hate crime? If so, this is a serious matter that should prompt you to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Any hate crime allegation can influence your future and make things more difficult for you. The life-altering consequences associated with being convicted of a hate crime can be significant and the penalties are severe because of the aggressive stance that New Jersey takes towards hate crimes.
Hate crimes involve any crimes that target a person for their sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, or race. The prosecution bears the burden of proof to illustrate that there was an intentional targeting of a person when a hate crime has occurred. The current social climate in the United States increases the chances that somebody could be accused of a hate crime. Reports suggest that while the number of hate crimes overall is down in New Jersey, there is a special task force designed in the state to handle these types of crimes.
This task force is under the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and is the bias crime unit. Its primary responsibility is to investigate these crimes. Any information that leads to a bias crime conviction can result in a monetary reward. Knowingly committing a crime that can affect a group based on their characteristics can be accused of a bias crime. You could be looking at misdemeanor charges or a fourth-degree indictable offense based on the severity of the underlying crime itself. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is an absolute must if you have been accused of a hate crime. The evidence against you in a case like this must be reviewed immediately and you cannot afford to wait. A lawyer who can challenge the arguments in the prosecution’s case could save you from a criminal record and jail time.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.