According to a report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
in November, there have been 7,175 reported hate crimes in 2017 compared
to 6,121 in 2016, which is the third year in a row a spike in hate crimes
has occurred. The Southern Poverty Law Center—a civil rights organization—calculated
a 30 percent increase in U.S. hate groups over the last four years, including
a seven percent increase last year alone.
In Florida, a hate crime is an act committed by an individual or group
against another in a manner which expresses hatred toward the victim due
to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability,
age, or political affiliation. Common types of hate crimes include vandalism,
assault, trespassing, intimidation, arson,
sex crimes, and even
According to state law, the penalty for a misdemeanor or felony will be
reclassified to a more severe charge if the jury or judge determines there
is an element of prejudice in the case.
The following is a breakdown of the reclassifications of hate crimes in Florida:
- A second-degree misdemeanor will become a first-degree misdemeanor
- A first-degree misdemeanor will become a third-degree felony
- A third-degree felony will become a second-degree felony
- A second-degree felony will become a first-degree felony
- A first-degree felony will become a life felony
Although there has been a significant rise in hate crimes, there has also
been a significant rise in false accusations. If you have been accused
of a hate crime, our
Daytona Beach criminal defense lawyer at the
Law Offices of Robert Stepniak can protect your rights, reputation, and future.
We understand how damaging allegations can be, even before you step foot
inside a courtroom. We can investigate your arrest, gather evidence, and
help prove that you were innocent or that you were not motivated by race.
For more information about hate crimes,
contact us and schedule a free consultation today.