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Understanding the Implications of a Hate Crime

Posted on in Criminal Defense
Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, violent crimeHate crimes are criminal acts committed because of someone’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Charged and tried according to state statutes, most carry a “penalty enhancement” clause that increases the weight of a penalty. The federal government may also become involved in the investigation or prosecution of a potential hate crime. If you are facing charges for a hate crime, or are at risk for facing such charges, it is important that you understand the possible implications of a potential conviction. Hate Crime Charges in Wisconsin According to Wisconsin state law, hate crimes that would have originally resulted in a misdemeanor charge (other than Class A) have an increased penalty of up to one year in a county jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. Hate crimes that would have originally classified as Class A misdemeanors may result in a maximum of two years of imprisonment and an increased fine of $10,000. For hate crimes that would have been classified as a felony, the maximum fine may not be increased by more than $5,000, but the imprisonment term can be increased by as many as five extra years of imprisonment. FBI Involvement Although, typically, hate crimes are not considered federal offenses, the federal government can and sometimes will aid in the investigation and prosecution of a hate crime. Covered under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, this involvement can include (but is not limited to) investigative activities, law enforcement support to state agencies, and even federal prosecution if the state is unwilling or incapable of moving forward with a hate crime prosecution. Not All Crimes against Target Groups Are Hate Crimes A crime against someone within a target group is not necessarily a hate crime because bias does not always play a role. If, however, there is any evidence to suggest that you may have committed a crime because of someone’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability, it could be added to your charges, regardless of your intent. This, paired with the potential increase of punishment, makes the procurement of qualified legal representation critical for anyone who is facing charges over a crime against a target group.

The skilled Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP, offer more than 40 years of experience to your criminal case. Comprised of a team that has experience on both sides of the law, our attorneys are capable of doing more than just protecting your rights; they know what it takes to build a solid defense for you. Schedule your consultation by calling our offices at 414-271-1440 today.






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