- January 6, 2023
- Violent Crime
What Qualifies As A Hate Crime Under Michigan Law?
In recent years in Michigan and across the United States, racially-motivated crimes have been on the rise. This is impacting how people live their lives and putting them in fear of violence, abuse and other illegal behaviors.
Persons accused of such criminal activity must remember that they too have rights.
Regardless of whether it was an incident in which a group of people were involved or it was an individual, it is essential to understand what constitutes a hate crime – specifically ethnic intimidation. If there are allegations under this law, it is vital to have legal protection immediately.
What does the law say about ethnic intimidation?
There are several factors that contribute to a charge of ethnic intimidation. First, a malicious and intentional attempt to harass or intimidate another person due to their race, religion, color or gender will fall under this law. The accused person must have caused physical contact; damaged, destroyed or defaced the other person’s property; or threatened to do either.
For example, if a person defaces a mosque, a synagogue or a Black-owned business; pushes or tries to punch a person due to one or more of the listed factors; or makes a threat to do so, they can be charged with ethnic intimidation.
The penalties for this crime are severe. A conviction will result in up to two years’ incarceration, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
In addition, independent of the criminal case, those who are victimized by this behavior can file a civil case against the alleged perpetrator. They can ask for damages triple the actual damages under the law or $2,000, whichever is higher. They can also ask for reasonable legal fees to be paid.
A legal defense from a former prosecutor can help with a case
As this law shows, the crime of ethnic intimidation can cause a litany of problems in a person’s life if they are accused. It can lead to jail, fines and a poor perception in the community.
Despite the underlying negativity in these types of crimes, everyone deserves a quality legal defense. Contacting a professional who is experienced in criminal defense from the perspective of the prosecution and the defense can be crucial to reaching a positive outcome. Calling for guidance as soon as the charges are made is imperative.