Like other states, Tennessee takes hate crimes seriously. And since these offenses are on the rise in the Volunteer State, local law enforcement personnel are coming down hard on those who’ve been accused of committing them. To be considered a hate crime, an offense must meet two criteria. First, it must be a criminal act, and second, it must be motivated by bias or prejudice. If you’ve been accused of committing a hate crime, a criminal defense attorney can discuss the specifics of the situation and the most likely outcome given the circumstances. In the meantime, here’s what you should know about such offenses.
What Is a Criminal Act?
Although some offenses are more likely to be hate crimes than others, those against both persons and property can constitute a hate crime. Common hate crimes against persons include kidnapping, assault, and intimidation. Common offenses against property, on the other hand, include vandalism, burglary, and theft.
What Is a Bias Motivation?
For these offenses to be considered hate crimes, there must be clear evidence that the perpetrator was motivated by prejudice. Protected groups that often fall victim to hate crimes include people with disabilities, those who belong to certain religions, individuals of different races, and those who are not heterosexual and/or cisgender. In cases involving hate crimes, criminal defense attorneys know that proving a bias motivation is often more challenging than proving the defendant actually committed the criminal act. In order to secure the best outcome possible, though, they must challenge both elements, including any evidence that the prosecutor presents.
If you’re facing charges for a hate crime or any other offense, turn to the Law Office of Douglas K. Dennis. The Cookeville-based firm is led by a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who has been protecting the rights of residents throughout central Tennessee for more than a decade. By limiting his scope of practice to criminal law, attorney Douglas K. Dennis is able to provide specialized counsel to help you secure the best outcome possible. To schedule an initial consultation with this strategic criminal defense lawyer, fill out the contact form on his website or call (931) 528-3684 today.