When people hear the word “hate crime,” they might envision racist individuals making unforgivable remarks, people being assaulted due to their ethnicity, or even historical atrocities such as the holocaust. But what exactly is a hate crime in Florida? How is this offense defined? And most importantly, what kind of consequences might you face if you are charged with a hate crime in the Sunshine State?
If you’re facing hate crime charges, your best bet is to get in touch with a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney at your earliest convenience. These legal professionals can help you approach this difficult situation in the most efficient, confident manner possible. With their assistance, you can strive for the best possible results and mitigate any legal consequences you might be facing. It’s always best to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible after you have been charged.
What is the Definition of a Hate Crime?
According to Florida law, you may face hate crime charges if you commit a crime (or attempt to commit a crime) against a person on account of their “personal characteristics.” These characteristics include:
- Gender Identity
- National Origin
- Sexual Orientation
- Advanced Age
- Mental Disability
- Physical Disability
- Homeless Status
In other words, a hate crime isn’t actually an offense by itself — but rather an aggravating factor that makes an existing crime much more serious (1). For example, you might face a misdemeanor after an assaulting a person under normal circumstances, but that same offense may become a felony if it is deemed to be a hate crime.
You Might Be Charged with a Hate Crime Under Surprising Circumstances
Many people assume that hate crimes only apply to certain groups, but this is just not true. While there is plenty of talk about how “non-whites cannot be racist” among certain intellectual groups, the law views everyone as equal. This means that you could be charged with a hate crime if you victimize white people based on their ethnicity. Although the “political correctness” of that may be debated, Florida law is quite clear on the matter.
In March of 2022, 5 Florida children faced hate crime charges for attacking white students on the basis of their ethnicity (2). These children uttered racial taunts and slurs while they were attacking the victims, which is a clear example of a hate crime. This shows that hate crime charges may be laid against defendants under somewhat surprising circumstances.
Where Can I Find A Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you’re facing charges related to hate crimes or any other offense, you might be asking yourself: “Where can I find criminal defense attorneys near me?” Fortunately, major municipal centers like Largo are home to experienced, qualified attorneys such as Trevena Pontrello & Associates. These legal professionals can help you fight for your rights in a confident manner and mitigate legal consequences efficiently. Book your consultation today to learn more.
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Trevena Pontrello & Associates
801 W Bay Drive
Largo FL 33770
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