Tulsa, Oklahoma Hate Crimes
Hate crimes are acts that target, injure, intimidate or harass the victim. Under Oklahoma law, hate crimes include illegal acts motivated by the victim’s race, religion, ancestry, ethnicity, nationality and/or physical or mental disability In addition to being directed at a person, hate crimes can also be directed at property. In that regard, hate crimes can include vandalizing or damaging property in addition to the assault and/or battery of a person. Hate crimes can even be conducted via email or other electronic device.
Hate Crimes and Houses of Worship
Oklahoma’s hate crime law specifically protects houses of worship as well as the associated properties and belongings. That is to say that a house of worship is categorized in the protected class of victims that is protected under Oklahoma law. A person who is caught in the act of intentionally defacing or breaking any part of the structure and/or any book, ornament, musical instrument or similar item associated with a house of worship can be charged with a hate crime, even though the criminal activity was directed at a building rather than a person.
Punishment for Hate Crimes
Depending upon your criminal history, a hate crime can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. A first offense hate crime is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a first offense hate crime, you can be punished by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000. A second or subsequent offense hate crime is a felony. If you are convicted of a second or subsequent crime, you can be punished by up to ten years in the state penitentiary and a fine up to $10,000. Additionally, you will be financially responsible for any damages stemming from the crime.
Finding An Attorney
Hate crimes are a serious matter under Oklahoma law. Both people and certain property such as houses of worship are protected under Oklahoma’s hate crime law. If you are facing a hate crime charge, you need one of our qualified criminal defense attorneys by your side to advocate on your behalf. Contact the Edge Law Firm today by calling our office or submitting our online form for a free, no-obligation review of your case.