In the state of Florida, hate crimes are as recognized those that are based on bias or prejudice against a protected class of people. Classifying a crime as a hate crime is based upon the motivation of the person who stands accused of the crime. The nature of the crime is not in play. It may be a burglary or an assault or worse. It is the motivation behind the crime that turns its classification into that of a hate crime.

Local police departments and other law enforcement agencies have adopted a zero tolerance stance when it comes to hate crimes. These crimes are investigated as serious no matter the circumstances. Prosecutors are eager to bring accused criminals to justice, but may be even more eager when those crimes have a basis in hatred towards a victim’s race, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, color, ethnicity, national origin, disability or advanced age.

When hate crimes are investigated, law enforcement will look for evidence. This may include statements made by the accused, any utterances made during the commission of the crime, the use of symbols associated with a prejudice, the nature of the offense and any affiliation with hate groups. In the event that the crime is classified as a hate crime, law enforcement is required to report certain details to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Being convicted of any crime brings penalties. Being convicted of a hate crime means that the accused is subjected to harsher penalties. Having a crime reclassified as a hate crime is not to be taken lightly. When law enforcement believes that a person has committed a crime against another simply because of the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation or other identifier, the crime and its investigation is taken extremely seriously.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in Orlando and it is alleged that the crime was committed based on bias or prejudice, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call our office today and schedule your appointment for a free case evaluation. Our team is here for you and we will defend your rights using the knowledge we have of criminal statutes and the local court system. Call today for assistance.

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