Hate crime reports have reached an all-time high in 12 years. As we work towards making America more racially inclusive and accepting, it’s important to keep ourselves informed about the current laws.
Under Texas law, a hate crime is committed when a person targets another individual or group for their race, color, religion, disability, age, gender, national origin, or sexuality. These crimes are generally motivated by hatred, prejudice, or active advocacy of violence against a particular community.
Racially motivated hate crimes are one of the most common types of hate crimes in Texas. In this blog, we’ll offer a closer look at the penalties they carry.
1. Imposition of Additional Charges
If you’re arrested and charged with a racially motivated hate crime in Texas, you will face additional charges based on the nature of the crime. This is how the charges for hate crimes are determined.
The original charges are upgraded to a higher degree of severity. For instance, if you commit a Class A misdemeanor, your crime will be upgraded to a state jail felony. Take a closer look at the types of crimes in Texas from most to least serious:
- Capital felony
- First-degree felony
- Second-degree felony
- Third-degree felony
- State jail felony
- Class A misdemeanor
- Class B misdemeanor
- Class C misdemeanor
It’s important to understand that each of these charges carry serious penalties, even Class C misdemeanors (up to $500 in fines). Your charges will automatically be amplified if you commit a hate crime.
2. Federal Hate Crimes
18 U.S. Code 249 encloses the penalties for federal hate crimes. If a person is found guilty for causing bodily harm to another person or a group of people for their race, they may spend up to 10 years in prison.
If the crime results in the death of the victim or involves kidnapping, a plan to kill the victim, sexual abuse, or a plan to commit sexual abuse, the offender may face life imprisonment.
3. Protecting Yourself
If you were wrongfully accused of committing a racially motivated hate crime, seek legal support at the earliest. Are you looking for an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Friendswood, Clear Lake, League City, Galveston, Webster, or any other part of the Greater Houston area? Attorney JL Carpenter should be your first call.
She builds a strong defense for her clients. Take a closer look at her practice areas. Whether you need a lawyer for DWI, drug possession, domestic violence, family violence, or any other charges, JL will offer the protection you need to protect your future and freedom.