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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > What Is a Hate Crime and When Can You Be Charged With One?

What Is a Hate Crime and When Can You Be Charged With One?


Hate crimes are one of the most punishable offenses in the United States, and it is essential to understand what a hate crime means and when someone can be charged with such a crime. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s report showed that there were more than 10,500 single-bias hate crime incidents across the country in 2021 alone.

A conviction for a hate crime could change your life in an instant. That is why you might want to seek legal counsel to protect your freedom and future when facing hate crime charges. Our Sandy Springs criminal defense lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers assist clients accused of hate crimes across the state of Georgia.

What Is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against a person or property because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic. Generally, these crimes are motivated by an individual’s bias or prejudice towards a particular race, religion, or group of people. It not only damages the victim physically but also affects their psychological, social, and economic status.

When Can You Be Charged with a Hate Crime?

The law varies from state to state on the specific criteria for charging someone with a hate crime. However, a person can be charged with a hate crime if they intentionally commit a criminal offense against another person or their property because of their bias or prejudice towards the victim’s perceived characteristics, such as religion, race, or sexual orientation. The crime itself can be any criminal act, such as assault, harassment, or vandalism.

How Can the Prosecution Prove the Defendant’s Motive for Committing the Crime?

The prosecution must prove that the defendant had an intentional motive to commit a crime based on the victim’s perceived characteristics. The prosecution can use different methods of evidence to prove the motive, such as the defendant’s social media posts, text messages, or statements to law enforcement. Additionally, if the defendant’s previous criminal history includes similar crimes that were motivated by hate, it strengthens the prosecutor’s case.

Why You Need a Defense Lawyer When Facing Hate Crime Charges

Facing hate crime charges is a serious accusation that can have long-lasting consequences, such as imprisonment, fines, and a permanent criminal record. It is crucial to hire a defense lawyer who specializes in hate crime charges because they are familiar with the legal framework and can construct an effective defense strategy for their clients. A lawyer can examine the evidence, interview potential witnesses and gather information to create reasonable doubt in the prosecutor’s theory of the crime.

Facing Hate Crime Charges? Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers

When charged with a hate crime, it is vital to hire a defense lawyer to construct an adequate defense strategy. If you or someone you love has been accused of committing a hate crime, Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers can help. We know what it takes to defend clients against hate crimes and fight for a favorable resolution of the case. Our law firm serves all of Georgia, including Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Atlanta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, and Gwinnett County. Call 770-685-6400 for a free case review with our lawyers.



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