Statistically, hate crimes are on the rise – and they’re happening all over the United States. So what, exactly, is a hate crime, and what will happen to you if you’re convicted? For most people, the best thing to do is to get in touch with a Wisconsin criminal defense attorney for advice.
What if You’re Charged With a Hate Crime in Wisconsin?
Technically, Wisconsin law has a different name for hate crimes; they’re called crimes committed against certain people or property. These crimes are committed against people (or the property belonging to those people) because of the alleged perpetrator’s belief or perception about the person’s:
- Sexual orientation
- National origin or ancestry
That’s true whether or not the perpetrator’s belief was correct. For example, if someone commits a crime against someone and says it was because the person is African-American, but the person is not actually African-American, it doesn’t matter – it’s still a hate crime under Wisconsin law.
Penalties for Hate Crimes
Hate crimes are ordinary crimes, but they’re committed because the people who commit them believe that the victim belongs to a certain protected group of people. Here’s how the penalties change:
- If the crime is ordinarily a misdemeanor of any class other than Class A, the penalty is up to a year in the county jail and fines of up to $10,000.
- If the crime is ordinarily a Class A misdemeanor, the penalty is up to 2 years imprisonment with fines of up to $10,000.
- If the crime is a felony, the maximum term of imprisonment for that felony is increased by up to 5 years, and the fine is increased by up to $5,000.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney Because You’ve Been Charged With a Hate Crime?
If you’ve been accused of committing a hate crime, whether you’re completely innocent or you made a mistake, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.