There was a 17.4 percent increase in the number of hate crime events reported in 2017, according to a report recently released by the California Department of Justice. The number of hate crime events in California increased from 931 in 2016 to 1,093 in 2017. Since 2014, the number of reported hate crimes in California has increased by nearly 44 percent.
Religious bias accounted for the greatest increase in hate crimes last year, rising 21.1 percent from 171 events in 2016 to 207 in 2017. This includes an increase in anti-Jewish and anti-Islamic motivated crimes.
Hate crimes regarding a person’s sexual orientation, whether real or perceived, also increased dramatically. There were 207 sexual orientation motivated hate crimes in 2016 compared to 246 in 2017 – an 18.8 percent increase. Hate crimes against gay males rose from 152 in 2016 to 172 in 2017.
Racially-motivated hate crimes increased by 16 percent – from 519 in 2016 to 602 in 2017. In that category, crimes committed against Hispanics or Latinos accounted for the sharpest increase. The reported amount of crimes involving Hispanics or Latinos increased by 51.8 percent, with 126 reported incidents in 2017. Anti-African-American bias increased by 20.3 percent with a total of 302 events in 2017.
Hate crime rates had decreased every year from 2007 to 2014. However, there has been a rise in hate crimes in California for three straight years, according to the LA Times.
Punishment for Hate Crimes in California (PC 422.75)
California hate crime laws are very complicated. Some offenses that could be considered “hate crimes” are listed specifically within the penal code. For instance, disrupting a religious gathering in a church is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000 under PC 302(a).
However, most instances of “hate crimes” are when a person commits a separate offense that is motivated by the alleged victim’s:
- Race or ethnicity
- Sexual orientation; or
- Association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics
If a person commits the crime of arson and his or her motivation was the victim’s race, under California Penal Code Section 422.75, he or she could face charges of arson in addition to penalties for a hate crime sentence enhancement.
If convicted, he or she could face an additional one, two or three years in state prison if the person’s motivation for committing the crime was the victim’s disability, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or other association with a group.
If you are facing hate crime charges, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been accused of a hate crime, it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense attorneys have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients facing hate crime charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation regarding your case. We will be there when you call.