When a person is arrested for a crime and might spend years in jail if convicted, it is time to hire top-quality legal help. Defense lawyers do everything they can to either get the accused judged innocent of the crime or seek a plea deal that minimizes time spent in jail or other punishments. But, what if there is a possibility of your crime being tried as a hate crime? This designation can add years to a prison sentence if proven by prosecutors in court. Defense lawyers know that hate crimes are difficult to prosecute and they know how to defend the accused.
What is the Definition of a Hate Crime?
Defending against all criminal accusations is the job of criminal defense lawyers. They will prepare a defense case for all crimes including hate crimes. When a person is facing the potential of a long prison sentence, they should not settle for an inexperienced lawyer. This is the time to get the best defense lawyers possible and let them battle your case in court. They should be able to get you the best result possible. The law office will assign an experienced team to investigate all the ins and outs of your case, interview you as many times as needed, and research the laws to find ways to help you.
If the prosecution is accusing you of a hate crime, they must prove your crime meets the legal definition. A hate crime can also be called a bias-motivated crime and is defined as a prejudice-motivated criminal act that occurs as a perpetrator targets their victim because they perceive them as being a part of a particular social group or racial group. This victim’s identity as a certain race, religion, color, sexual orientation, or nationality must be a factor in the accused’s motivation for the crime.
3 Obstacles for Prosecuting Hate Crime
The prosecution has a hard time proving a hate crime occurred rather than just the base crime. They not only must prove the defendant committed the crime but that the defendant committed that crime for a specific motivation such as hate of the person’s color or religion. There are three obstacles to hate crime conviction:
1. The crime must meet the court’s definition of a hate crime. The hate crime definitions in state laws differ from state to state.
2. Prosecution must prove not only that the defendant committed the crime but that the crime was “hate” motivated. Proving a person’s state of mind at the time of a crime is difficult.
3. The prosecution might be required to prove the defendant has a history of hate speech or crimes. There must be a history of bias toward the group the victim belongs to.
A defense team will do the research and make a case that will counter each piece of evidence the prosecution presents and present a reasonable doubt in the juror’s minds. There are always two sides to every story and the defense lawyers will present the side of the story that helps the decedent look innocent.
The defense often involves looking for witnesses for the defense. This includes people who may give the defender character references, an alibi, or other helpful testimony in the defendant’s favor. They will cross-examine all of the prosecution’s witnesses and present arguments for the defense that are compelling for the defendant’s innocence. The defense lawyers do their best in every case to get their clients the best outcome possible.