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What is a Hate Crime?

The phrase “hate crime” is heard frequently these days in the news and on social media, but what exactly is a hate crime and what happens if someone is accused?

A hate crime can be defined when a person commits an act of violence or assault against another person because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or other identity. Verbal threats to harm can also be classified as hate crimes and crimes can be committed utilizing weapons, arson, vandalism, and explosives. Victims of hate crime report feelings of fear, isolation, depression, helplessness, and trauma.

Hate itself is not a crime, but violence against another person due to the dislike, bias or hatred of that person’s identity can be considered a crime. The person committing a hate crime can be of any race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or national identity. Their hatred and intent to injure can be directed at one person or a group.

Not every incidence of violence perpetrated by a person of one race or ethnicity against a person of a different race or ethnicity is a hate crime. Someone who commits an act of violence upon another without doing so because of their race, sex, religion or other defined identity might be accused of a hate crime, but they would need to prove the intent of violence was because of a hatred of the other person’s identity. Someone who is accused of a Hate Crime may face harsher penalties under the law than other acts of violence. A person can be wrongly accused, their crime not motivated by bias or hatred.

What If Someone Is Accused Of A Hate Crime?

If someone is arrested for a hate crime the first thing they or their family member should do is contact a bail bondsman. Most people who have been arrested are able to secure release from jail by “posting bail.” This is done by contacting a bail bondsman who will require a monetary deposit by the defendant or the defendant’s family member on their behalf. The amount to secure the loan with a bail bondsman can vary from bondsman to bondsman or state to state but the usual fee for service is 10% deposit on the total loan amount.

Perhaps the court has set the defendant’s bail amount at $5,000. The defendant will need to give the bail bondsman $500 in cash to cover that loan. If the bail has been set at $10,000, then the bondsman will require a deposit of $1,000. Once the money is paid and the bondsman has notified the court, the process of release can begin.

The process of determining bail for a defendant usually begins 48 hours after their arrest. In many cases, if a bail bondsman has been secured by the defendant or the defendant’s family member, a release from jail can be in as little as one or two hours.

A bail hearing is part of the process after any arrest. The hearing is required to determine if a defendant can be released on their own because their crime is minor or the judge believes they will complete all necessary steps to satisfy the court regarding their case. This is what is called a release “on their own recognizance.” In these cases, no bail is required.

A judge might determine he requires bail. He will set the bail amount based on the nature of the crime, the facts of the case, a person’s criminal history and other considerations. Bail is insurance that a defendant will meet the requirements of the court. There are cases where the judge determines there is no availability of a bail option, and the defendant is to be held until further court procedures. These are usually the worst cases of crime which can also include incidences of a hate crime.

Types Of Bail

Surety Bail
A bail agent writes a surety bond for the defendant, which requires a bail premium – a percentage of the total bail amount. This premium is non-refundable.

Property Bond
A lien is placed against the value of real property by the court in exchange for the defendant’s release. Property bonds are, like cash bail, seized by the court if the defendant does not show up in court.

Cash Bail
The full cash amount of bail paid to secure release. Upon completion of all required appearances and stipulations by the court, the amount is returned upon finalization of the case. If a defendant “skips bail” and does not attend all court hearings, the full amount is seized by the court.

Important To Remember

It is always important for someone to remember that if they have been accused of a crime, anything they say after arrest can be used against them in a court of law. Anything they say prior to their release whether on their own recognizance or by bail bondsman can be used against them in a court of law.

Hate crimes are a serious offense and a serious accusation. Hate crimes cause tension, conflict, civil disturbance and rioting in the communities where such crimes occur. Hate crimes have not only legal consequences but social and economic ones for communities, cities, and states.

Hate crimes are Federal crimes and the Department of Justice enforces the law regarding these crimes. Also, if a defendant is convicted of a hate crime, their victim may be entitled to restitution paid by the defendant. If someone has been accused of a hate crime they should consider the charge a serious one and take appropriate steps to ensure the integrity of their freedom and individual legal case.

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