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Hate crimes encompass a variety of actions

In our previous blog post, we discussed some of the penalties for various violent crimes in Maryland. One of the crimes we discussed was hate crimes. If you recall, hate crimes can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. The penalties of a conviction depend on the classification. That post might have some people wondering exactly what is considered a hate crime.

A hate crime is any act of violence that is meant to harm or intimidate someone based on their disability, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or ethnicity. A hate crime can be carried out using words or weapons. That is, a person can verbally threaten someone based on one of the factors previously mentioned and that is considered a hate crime. A person could attack the person because of one of those factors and it is considered a hate crime.

The root cause of a hate crime varies. In some cases, frustration and anger with the local government lead to hate crimes. In other cases, intimidation and the desire to instill fear in a certain group of people is the cause.

Hate crimes are considered very serious crimes because they affect the entire community. Oftentimes, these crimes create or aggravate tensions in the area that can lead to civil unrest. That unrest can lead to property value decline, injury to innocent people, property loss and an increased pressure on emergency service personnel.

When you have been charged with a hate crime, you must take the charge seriously. The effects of a conviction can go far beyond having to spend time in jail or pay a fine. You might find it difficult to find a place to live or a job if the places you are considering do background checks. With that in mind, you can see why it is vital that you begin building your defense right away if you are facing hate crime charges.

Source: FindLaw, "Hate Crime: The Violence of Intolerance," accessed Sep. 02, 2015

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