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Facing Hate Crimes Charges in Connecticut

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Stamford, CT criminal defense lawyerAlong with several other laws that will go into effect January 1, 2023, is the requirement of the Hate Crimes Investigative Unit within the Connecticut State Police. The unit was established in October 2021; however, Public Act 22-9 codifies the requirement of the unit into law. The Hate Crimes Investigative Unit investigates crimes involving race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, and disability.

Hate Crimes in Connecticut

There is no doubt that incidents of hate crimes have increased in the United States and that rate continues to rise. According to FBI statistics, in 2020 (the most recent year of data released), there were more than 8,000 hate crime incidents committed against 11,000 individuals. This was an increase of just under 1,000 incidents from the year before.

Here in Connecticut, there were 102 hate crimes reported to law enforcement, according to the FBI’s data. The motivation behind the crimes was broken down to the following:

  • Race/Ethnicity – 65

  • Religion – 18

  • Sexual orientation – 15

  • Disability – 4

Despite these high numbers, it is estimated that hate crimes are underreported and the actual number of incidents is much higher.

There is also the issue of proving hate crimes. In order to charge a person under the hate crime statute, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed the act because they were motivated by hate. In some cases – such as assault – the prosecution may only be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the assault took place, but not the motivation behind it. There is a significant difference in the penalties for a simple assault conviction compared to the penalties for an assault committed during the commission of a hate crime.

Penalties for Conviction of Hate Crimes

If a person is convicted of a hate crime in Connecticut, the sentences imposed are harsh:

  • A person convicted of injuring an individual during the commission of a hate crime faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

  • A person convicted of threatening, making physical contact, intimidating, or destroying an individual’s property during the commission of a hate crime faces up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

  • A person convicted of damaging property, threatening to damage property, or encouraging others to do so during the commission of a hate crime faces up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.

Contact a Fairfield County Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a hate crime, you are facing serious penalties if convicted, including prison time. You need a skilled Stamford, CT hate crimes attorney aggressively advocating for you and ensuring your rights are protected. Call Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner at 203-348-5846 to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out what legal options you may have against these serious charges.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/PS98/rpt%5Colr%5Chtm/98-R-1306.htm

https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/state-specific-information/connecticut

https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Public+Act&which_year=2022&bill_num=9