When is a Crime Considered a Hate Crime in Connecticut?
When someone breaks the law, they can be charged with a criminal offense and sentenced to various criminal penalties. However, not all crimes are treated equally under Connecticut or federal law. Some crimes are considered “hate crimes.” Understanding exactly what crimes are considered hate crimes is not always easy. The law is often difficult to interpret, and the issue is shrouded in controversy. However, one matter remains clear: If you are charged with a crime, speaking with a criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure that you receive the legal advice and support you need.
What is a Hate Crime?
Certain individuals are specifically protected by the law. When a crime targets a protected class of people, this crime may be considered a hate crime. In Connecticut, it is against the law to threaten, harm, or harass someone on the basis of his or her ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. An individual who is charged with a hate crime may face criminal penalties and monetary damages in a civil lawsuit.
Categories of Hate Crimes in Connecticut
Per Connecticut law, a person commits first-degree “intimidation based on bigotry or bias” if the person deliberately injures another individual because of that individual’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or disability. This crime is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Second-degree intimidation involves destroying property, threatening, or making physical contact with someone in order to intimidate or harass him or her. This Class D felony is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. Third-degree intimidation involves damaging or destroying property or threatening or encouraging someone to damage property on the basis of the aforementioned attributes. This is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and up to 2,000 in fines.
Connecticut law also expressly prohibits:
- Depriving someone of any right due to the person’s race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation
Desecrating religious structures or symbols or cemeteries
Placing a burning cross on public property or private property without permission
Ridiculing a person based on his or her ethnicity, nationality, race, denomination, or religion
Contact a Fairfield County Hate Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been charged with a hate crime, it is important to work with an experienced defense attorney. Stamford criminal defense attorney Daniel P. Weiner has more than 40 years of experience defending clients accused of crimes in Connecticut. He and the rest of the team at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can help you build a strong defense against the charges. Call 203-348-5846 for a free, confidential consultation.