Hate Crimes Defense
Houston Hate Crimes Attorneys :: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp
In Texas, a hate crime is one that is committed against another individual solely because he or she belongs to a certain class or group. Religion, race, ethnicity, gender and political affiliation are examples of groups. These crimes are often violent in nature and can include:
Penalties for Hate Crimes
Depending on the acts committed, hate crimes can be classified as either misdemeanor crimes or felony crimes. The penalties for such crimes can vary and are based on a number of factors including the seriousness of the crimes and how much planning was involved to carry out the crimes. Defendants who are deemed to have conspired with others to commit these crimes are generally treated more harshly than those who act alone. Some of the punishments that can be handed down include:
- Incarceration time ranging from six months to 99 years
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Anger management classes
- Mandatory community service
- Electronic monitoring
Individuals can usually apply for a protective order after becoming a victim of a crime. This could limit the ability of the accused to move about freely. A person who has a hate crime charge on their record could also be banned from working in certain industries or legally carrying a firearm.
Defenses Against These Charges
When an individual is charged with a hate crime, the first thing a defense attorney will do is look at the circumstances surrounding the arrest. This is done in an effort to ensure that the evidence obtained from the district attorney proves all the elements of a hate crime. While reviewing the evidence, a lawyer will look for contradictory statements or ones that appear to have been coerced. Sometimes, what appeared to be a hate crime initially may not be a hate crime after all once the facts are reviewed. In these instances, a hate crimes defense lawyer may ask for charges to be dropped or reduced.
Talk to a Houston Hate Crimes Attorney
Attorney Matthew Sharp is experienced in criminal law. He is member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. He is dedicated to seeing that each client receives the representation he or she deserves in a court of law. He will fight vigorously to ensure that the courts and prosecutors do not violate his clients’ rights. For a free review of your hate crimes case, reach out to The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp.