Hate Crimes

A hate crime is a criminal offense that is motivated by bias or animus against the victim, based on the victim’s race, religion, or membership in another protected category of persons. Assaulting a person because he is Black is a hate crime; assaulting a Black person for other reasons remains a simple assault. Some states have specific “hate crime” offenses; others elevate the severity of the underlying charge or augment the sentence when hate is the motivating force behind the crime.