Hate Crimes Defined

Traditionally, hate crimes referred to crimes where perpetrators acted out against a victim because of his or her race, religion, or nation of origin. However, today’s definition of hate crime is broader. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines a hate crime as a “traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias.”

Today, the FBI has defined hate crimes as an offense against a person or property due to the offender’s bias against any of the following:

  • A person’s race
  • A person’s religion
  • A person’s gender
  • A person’s sexual orientation
  • A person’s ethnicity
  • A person’s gender identify

The FBI has been investigating hate crimes in the United States since World War I. Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, the FBI’s role in investigating and fighting hate crimes has only increased. While most hate crimes are investigated on the local and state levels, the FBI continues to help local and state agencies combat hate crimes throughout the nation.

Here are some ways the FBI helps fight hate crime:

  • If someone violates a federal civil rights statute, the FBI is the main agency in charge of investigating the violation.
  • The FBI offers its assistance to local and state authorities, even when the perpetrators are not prosecuted in federal court.
  • Most of the FBI’s field offices assist local Hate Crime Working Groups by helping them address local hate crime issues.
  • The FBI offers hundreds of workshops, seminars, and training sessions each year for community groups, religious organizations, and law enforcement agencies to reduce hate crimes and civil rights abuses.
  • The FBI has partnered with a number of local civil rights organizations to share information, address problems, and find solutions. Some of these organizations include the American-Arab Discrimination Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Asian American Justice Center, and the National Organization for Women among others.

Are you facing state or federal charges for committing a hate crime? If so, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom and your future. To get started, contact our firm to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team.

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