New Jersey has noticed an increase in hate crimes over the last few years. New Jersey is taking action to reduce these by increasing the consequences if convicted. Those convicted of a hate crime in New Jersey may be subject to mandatory registration on a public database.
What is a Hate Crime?
A hate crime in New Jersey is any unlawful act done with the intention of victimizing another person based on their:
- Sexual orientation
In order for something to be considered a hate crime, it must also be accompanied by an unlawful action. A few examples of unlawful behaviors might include harassment, criminal mischief, or assault.
Understanding New Jersey’s Hate Crime Consequences
New Jersey typically charges hate crimes with a bias intimidation. Bias intimidation refers to the method by which you conduct a hate crime. It may include:
- You commit a crime with the intention of intimidating a person in a protected category
- You commit a crime with the knowledge that doing so will cause others in a protected category to be intimidated
- You commit a crime that includes a target or victim with the intention of them being intimidated and they reasonably believe that it was because of that
- You commit a crime against someone of a protected category’s property or personal items
If charged with any of these, the original charges that you receive will likely be escalated to the next degree. For example, if you are being charged with second-degree criminal assault, the addition of a hate crime can increase your charge to the first degree. Your legal consequences can also be multiplied, meaning you’ll not only receive consequences for the first crime, but also the hate crime.
What is the Proposed Mandatory Database?
Even once you have served your time and completed all the requirements of your sentencing, your criminal record could continue to follow you. You may find it difficult to find employment, especially if your information is available in a public database like some lawmakers are proposing. The database would work similarly to Megan’s Law, which is a public database that displays sexual charges of certain convicted offenders.
The database would let people know who was living near them. It would make it easier for employers to conduct background checks on potential candidates. The database would be controlled by the state attorney general’s office, and information would come from county prosecutors. It is important to note that it would only include convictions, not charges.
Being convicted of a single hate crime could land you on the list. New Jersey estimates that approximately over 1,400 hate crimes occurred in 2020 alone.
Work With a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’re dealing with potential criminal charges, it’s important that you take action. Criminal charges are not taken lightly in New Jersey. While this may be to protect victims of hate crimes, it can be especially difficult if you’re being wrongly charged. In addition to the potential jail time, mandatory registration could continue to affect your employment or living options.
Contact an Experienced Hamilton Township Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Hate Crime Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with a hate crime in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at The Davis Law Firm, LLC have successfully represented clients in Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 498-7722 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.