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California Hate Crime Law & Defense

Penal Code 422.6, 422.7 & 422.75

Definition of a Hate Crime in California

A Hate Crime is a crime that is committed by the defendant while the defendant was motivated to commit the crime by hate towards a victim because of the victim's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or nationality. A hate crime allegation is an enhancement to another crime.

For example, if the defendant assaults another person because of the other person's race the underlying crime is assault with the enhancement of a hate crime allegation that is added to the assault crime to increase the penalty for the defendant. 

California Hate Crime laws and enhancements are found at California penal code sections 422.6(a), 422.7, and 422.75.

In order for the district attorney to prove that the defendant committed a hate crime he or she will need to prove all three of the following factors:

  • The defendant willfully interfered with, or injured, or intimidated, the victim's right or privilege that is established by law (such as the right to attend school, travel, attend church, protest, live, etc.),
  • The defendant did so because of the victim's gender, race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, disability, or sexual orientation, and,
  • The defendant intended to interfere with the victim's legally protected right, or injured the person or property of the victim.

It is not a defense for the defendant to show that the victim did not belong to one of the protected groups so long as the district attorney can prove that the defendant actually believed that the victim belonged to a protected group at the time the crime was committed.

If a defendant is accused of having a motivation to commit a crime against another person because of the other person's race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc, but also had other motivation to commit a crime against that other person then the district attorney must prove that the discriminatory factor was the substantial reason for the crime.

For example, if the defendant assault another person who happens to be homosexual it is not a hate crime pursuant to PC 422.6, 422.7, or 422.75 unless the assault was motivated by hatred towards homosexuals.

For gender discrimination, the defendant may be charged with a hate crime under PC 422 based on the perceived gender, or the other person's gender identity (cross dressers, transvestite, transsexual, etc.). Sexual orientation means heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. For example, if the defendant assault another person because he believes the other person is a female, but the other person is not actually a female, the defendant may still be charged with a hate crime under PC 422.6 or 422.7.

For racial discrimination hate crimes the word race includes ancestry, color, and ethnic background.

In addition to being charged with a hate crime for any actual injury to a person or property, a defendant may be found guilty of a hate crime where he or she interferes with the Civil Rights of an alleged victim.

For example, if a defendant interferes with a person's property or a right, such as the right to vote, by intimidation, fear, or threats, and the reason for the defendant's interference with another person right is based on race, gender, etc, then the defendant may be charged with a hate crime pursuant to PC 422.6 or 422.7, even if no actual physical injury was suffered by the hate crime victim.

Penalty for Hate Crimes: PC 422.6, 422.7 & 422.75

A hate crime criminal charge may be filed as misdemeanor or as a felony. Whether or not the district attorney files misdemeanor or felony hate crimes charges depends largely on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

Per PC 422.6 there is a hate crime criminal enhancement for 'any interference with Civil Rights.' The crime is charged as a misdemeanor and the defendant may serve up to 180 days in the county jail upon any conviction, whether by plea agreement or by jury verdict.

Per PC 422.7 there is a hate crime criminal enhancement that may be charged as either a felony or as a misdemeanor. If found guilty of a hate crime under 422.7 as a felony the defendant may face up to three years in prison; this prison time is in addition to any possible jail time for any underlying crime such as battery, assault, etc. Where PC 422.7 is charged as a misdemeanor the defendant may face up to a one year in the county jail; again, this is in addition to any punishment levied against the defendant for the underlying crime, if any.

In addition to the possible prison or jail sentence listed above, if found guilty of a hate crime under PC 422.6, 422.7, or 422.75, the defendant may lose his or her professional license, lose his or her immigration status (for non-United States citizens), be ordered to pay fines, restitution, ordered to attend anger management classes, suffer harsh probation or parole terms, and more. Note: For felony hate crime convictions the defendant will also lose his or her right to own or possess firearms.

PC 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75 crimes are not themselves considered serious or violent as those terms are defined in California's Three Strike's Sentencing Law, but the underlying crimes may be considered serious or violent. For example, if the defendant is charged with assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime enhancement, the robbery charge would be considered a serious and violent crime but the enhancement would not be considered a serious or violent crime.

In some cases it may be possible to lower the sentencing associated with a hate crime enhancement. Remember, if the underlying crime is dismissed then the hate crime enhancement is also dismissed. In other cases, it may be possible to have the hate crime enhancement dismissed by demonstrating that the underlying crime was not motivated by hate towards a protected class or persons.

Defenses to Hate Crimes

The most common defense to a hate crime charge is insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant was motivated to commit a crime against the victim because of the victim's race, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, etc. Other defenses include a defense to the underlying crime such as insufficient evidence to prove guilt, statute of limitations, self-defense, defense of others, intoxication, and more. The facts of the underlying charge will determine which defense is best for the whole case.

If you or a loved one is charged with a California hate Crime contact our criminal defense attorneys today. There is no charge to speak with one of our qualified criminal defense attorneys about PC 422.6, 422.7, or 422.75 (hate crimes and enhancement). Our criminal defense attorneys are available 24/7 and dedicate 100% of their practice to criminal defense.

909.913.3138

Criminal Defense Attorneys

909.913.3138

PC 422.6, 422.7, & 422.75: Hate Crimes

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PC 422.6, 422.7, & 422.75: Hate Crimes

  • Accessory
  • Arson
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Burglary
  • Conspiracy
  • Criminal Threats
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drunk in Public
  • DUI
  • Elder Theft
  • Evading
  • False Personation
  • Hate Crimes
  • Hit & Run
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Kidnapping
  • Lewd Acts
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Perjury
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Shoplifting
  • Stalking
  • Vandalism
  • Vehicle Theft
  • Welfare Fraud

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PC 422.6, 422.7, & 422.75: Hate Crime Enhancements

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Hate Crime Enhancements

  • PC 422.6(a) Violation of civil rights by force with injury
  • PC 422.6(b) Violation of civil rights destruction of property
  • PC 422.7 Misdemeanor hate crime
  • PC 422.7 Felony hate crime
  • PC 422.75(a) Hate crime enhancement for for felony convictions
  • PC  422.75(b) Enhancement for hate crime against an institution
  • PC 422.75(c) Enhancement for hate crime committed in concert with other defendants
  • PC 422.75(e) Enhancement for committing a a hate crime with a prior conviction for any hate crime (Felony sentence up to four years in prison)


California Hate Crime Law & Defense PC 422.6, 422.7, 422.75

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