Assault or Harassment Charges Alleging Bigotry or Bias
Under Connecticut law, a misdemeanor crime such as assault or vandalism can be escalated to a serious felony offense if the prosecution believes the crime was motivated by bigotry or bias. You can be charged with a hate crime simply for words or acts that are perceived as intimidation against a protected class.
The Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can effectively counter these serious charges. Stamford criminal defense lawyer Daniel P. Weiner can challenge both the allegation of bias and the underlying criminal offense to protect your freedom and reputation, and minimize any court-imposed penalties.
We represent adults or juveniles charged with hate crimes in Fairfield County and throughout Connecticut. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.
Connecticut's Crime of Intimidation Law
It is a crime to attack, threaten, harass, destroy property or otherwise target a person (or a group of people) on the basis of the person's actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. Connecticut's hate crime statute is prosecuted on three levels:
- First degree — Serious physical injury resulting from malicious intimidation on the basis of bigotry or bias. This is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Second degree — Physical contact, damage to property or threatening either action. This is a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
- Third degree — Damage, destruction or defacing of property, or threats to do so, or inciting others to do so by word or action. This is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison or a fine up to $2,000.
We seek first to exonerate our client from allegations of the commission of any assault, harassment or property damage. If the prosecution cannot prove the underlying charge beyond a reasonable doubt, the hate crime charges will be dismissed too.
If the prosecution has strong evidence that the crime occurred, attorney Weiner will work to demonstrate that you have no animosity against the victim(s) based on their protected class. Sometimes vandalism is just vandalism. Sometimes a physical altercation has more to do with alcohol or peer pressure than any bias or bigotry.
Mr. Weiner is a skilled trial lawyer with over 34 years of the criminal courts of Connecticut. He is prepared to go to trial to help you avoid prison and a felony conviction, or he may be able to help you resolve hate crime cases through pretrial diversionary programs that will keep the offense off your criminal record.
Hate Crime Enhancement for Serious Felony Charges
A conviction for any violent crime such as robbery, arson, first degree assault or murder may carry enhanced penalties if charged as a hate crime. The court could add years to the base prison sentence. Attorney Weiner is skilled at challenging the justification for prosecution as a bias crime.
Stamford Hate Crime Defense Lawyer
If you are accused of gay bashing, race baiting or other harassment or intimidation, e-mail us or call us at 203-883-9945 to schedule a free consultation.