An individual’s intentions when committing a criminal act are often very important in California. For example, individuals who commit crimes by accident or without intention are usually treated less severely by the court system.
On the other side of that coin, individuals may face harsher charges if they act specifically to harm members of a specific:
- Sexual Orientation
Individuals can also face increased penalties for committing a crime based on another person’s disability. These targeted acts can be considered hate crimes and they may be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75: Hate Crimes. The Simmrin Law Group can help you better understand hate crimes in California right here.
Defining California Penal Code Section 422.6
As you can see, California uses a number of different charges to prosecute hate crimes. We will review the charges associated with PC 422.6 first. According to PC 422.6, individuals can face criminal charges for willfully:
- Threatening, Injuring, Intimidating, or Interfering with an Individual
- To Prevent the Individual from Exercising the Rights Granted Them By
- California’s Constitution, California’s Legal Codes, Federal Legal Codes, or the U.S. Constitution
Individuals may also face PC 422.6 charges for purposely destroying or damaging property to interfere with another person’s rights. An individual must be motivated to commit these acts because of the victim’s characteristics to be charged under PC 422.6.
Defining California Penal Code Sections 422.7 and 422.75
PC 422.7 and PC 422.75 can be applied to a wider range of criminal acts. These codes allow the court system in California to prosecute anyone who:
- Commits Any Misdemeanor or Felony
- While Motivated by the Victim’s Actual or Supposed
- Gender, Disability, Religion, Nationality, Race, Ethnicity, or Sexual Orientation
Reviewing Penalties for Hate Crime Convictions in California
PC 422.6, PC 422.7, and PC 422.75 are all punished differently by California’s court system. Let’s go over each of these charges right here:
Penalties for PC 422.6 Convictions
PC 422.6 is treated as a misdemeanor in the state of California. A conviction can lead to:
- Fines: Up to $5,000
- Jail Time: Up to One Year
Penalties for PC 422.7 Convictions
PC 422.7 allows prosecutors to turn some misdemeanor charges into “wobblers.” Wobblers are charges that may be treated as misdemeanors or felonies. Charges can be changed to wobblers if an individual commits a misdemeanor as a hate crime and:
- The Misdemeanor Led to an Injury or Had the Potential to Cause an Injury
- The Misdemeanor Resulted in Over $950 Worth of Property Damage OR
- The Accused Had a Previous Conviction for PC 422.6
If the charge is then treated as a felony, an individual could face these penalties:
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Prison Time: Up to Three Years
Penalties for PC 422.75 Convictions
PC 422.75 charges are used to enhance the penalties for another felony charge in California. Generally, if an individual is charged with a felony and their actions are considered a hate crime, they could have up to three years added to their prison sentence. They will also face penalties for the felony charges they are facing if convicted.
Going Over the Legal Defenses for Hate Crime Accusations
You may be able to build a defense for hate crime accusations by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Your lawyer can go over the facts of your case. Based on your situation, your lawyer could argue that:
You Did Not Commit a Criminal Act
You should not be charged with a hate crime if you did not commit a criminal act. Your lawyer could work to show that your actions were accidental or that you were falsely accused to defend you from hate crime charges in California.
Your Actions Were Not Motivated by Hate
If you did commit a criminal act, but you were not motivated by an individual’s race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, you should not face sentencing enhancements for a hate crime. Your lawyer can focus on your motivations to protect you in court.
Contact a Lawyer to Handle Hate Crime Charges Right Now
California Penal Code Section 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75: Hate Crimes charges can be incredibly difficult to deal with alone. Make sure you have professional help on your side by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. You can reach our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers by calling (310) 997-4688 or filling out our online contact form.
You can start working on your defense now with a FREE initial case evaluation.