When it comes to hate crimes, Florida ranks number two in the nation, a distinction that is not in any way positive. There are currently 50 hate groups active in the state, and there were 124 such crimes in the log books by the end of 2013.

So what constitutes a hate crime? You may be charged with a hate crime if your target is chosen based on their race, religion, ethnicity, disability or sexual identity. Across the country, 5,928 hate crimes were reported in 2013, impacting 7,242 people. Officially, the FBI defines a hate crime as: A traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism, with an added element of bias.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, active hate groups in the Sunshine State include Nation of Islam, Ku Klux Klan and New Black Panther Party chapters. These groups are spread throughout the country. California leads the nation with 57 active groups.

Here are five facts about hate crimes you may not have been aware of:

1. At least 1 Latino person, 3 Jewish people, 3 gay people, 3 white people, and 8 black people will be the victims of hate crimes each day.

2. When it comes to hate crimes, approximately 47% are racially motivated, 21% are motivated by sexual orientation, 20% are motivated by racial bias, 12% are motivated by ethnic bias, and less than 1% are motivated by disability bias.

3. Someone in the United States commits a hate crime every hour.

4. Hate crimes are predominantly committed by persons between the ages of 15 and 24.

5. There is a cross burned somewhere in the United States each week.

If you are arrested and convicted for a hate crime, the punishment is more severe than you would have faced had the crime not been motivated by such biases. You may face longer prison time, harsher fines, and longer periods of probation. If you are the victim of hate crime or know about one, you can call 1-800-552-6843, Hate Crimes Hotline.

If you have been arrested for a crime, you need an experienced attorney at your side. Call our offices as soon as you are able and we will review the facts of your case. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers will fight for your rights in court. Contact our offices today for your free initial consultation. We are here to defend you in the way you deserve.

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