If you have watched the news in the past few months, you have most likely heard the term “hate crime” being used. This is a phrase that is often used injudiciously to describe any scuffle between people of different races or religions. Yet, the United States government has specific parameters that give a solid definition of “hate crime.”
A development in criminal law in New Jersey and other states has been the implementation of statutes that effectively enhance the penalties of other crimes when the motivation of the criminal act involves animus toward the victim based on categories such as race, gender or sexual orientation. These statutes are generally known as "hate crime" laws.
This post cannot cover all aspects of federal hate crime laws, and it is not intended or offered as legal advice. If you have questions or require more information about such laws, a criminal defense law firm can help to provide you with answers.