Getting accused of a hate crime in the state of Mississippi is a serious situation that needs to be assessed wisely. Because of the subjective matter of what can be categorized as a hate crime by the victim, simply saying the wrong words in the wrong way can result in years of prison time. If you have been accused of a hate crime, you will need to know if the victim has a case and whether you can defend against it. The first step is to learn a little bit more about how hate crimes are handled in Mississippi.
How Is a Hate Crime Defined in Mississippi?
A hate crime in Mississippi is defined as a felony or misdemeanor that is perceived to be motivated by the following things:
- national origin
Hate crimes can also apply to felonies and misdemeanors determined to be motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician.
How Do I Know If What I Have Done Is a Hate Crime or Not?
Basically, if you have committed a felony or a misdemeanor, then the sentence for that crime may be doubled if the courts determine it was motivated by hate for some aspects of the victim’s identity. If you have not committed any felony or misdemeanor, but just made a shrewd comment or insult, it will be hard for the courts to sentence you to prison time unless it can be framed as a direct threat of violence.
For example, if you:
- Insult a stranger on the street with some sort of racial or bigoted slur, you probably would not be charged with any sort of hate crime.
But if you:
- Insult a stranger on the street with a slur while assaulting them, then you could get double the maximum sentence for assault because now it is deemed as a hate crime.
Hate crimes can also be applied to vandalism towards people’s property, including churches or places of worship.
The outlines for how felonies and misdemeanors are enhanced after being deemed a hate crime are provided in Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated Sections 99-19-301 through 99-19-307.
As you can see, small subtleties can be the difference between years in prison and receiving a slap on the wrist.
What Do I Do If I Have Been Accused of a Hate Crime in Mississippi?
If you have been accused of a hate crime by someone, you first need to understand that it is a serious matter that can genuinely compromise your freedom and future. If the victim can frame their side of the story well enough, you will not be the first person to go to jail for a long time. It is important to act quickly and team up with a qualified attorney who can handle the situation for you.
Act Now and Call Mississippi Hate Crime Lawyer Vic Carmody, Jr.
If you have been accused of a hate crime in Mississippi, do not waste time. Contact Victor Carmody, Jr. at Mississippi Lawyers now. Mr Carmody is an award-winning legal warrior who has been serving all of the Magnolia State for over 40 years.