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Definition of Hate Crimes

Hate Crime Definition Stock Photo

Hate Crime attacks can range from name-calling, offensive jokes, and social exclusion to life-threatening acts of violence. When these attacks cross the line into criminal activity, they are considered to be hate crimes.

Hate crimes can take many forms:

  • A black teenager is beaten up by white teenagers while driving through a suburb.
  • Swastikas are painted on a synagogue.
  • A gay man is killed and another is injured when they are attacked by a group of 10 young men outside a gay bar.
  • A bomb threat is called in to a local Islamic center, and racial epithets are shouted at children wearing traditional Arab clothing.

When a hate crime occurs, its effects can reverberate throughout the entire community.

Hate crimes affect not only individual victims, but can also harm every other member of the group that individual represents, creating a sense of fear, vulnerability, insecurity, distrust, and outrage. They can also launch cycles of retaliation and counter-retaliation among groups.

OVERVIEW: It is an essential element of this section that the record reflects that the defendant perceived, knew, or had reasonable grounds to know or perceive that the victim was within the class delineated in this section.

Select Category Definitions According to Florida Hate Crime Statute 775.085

Advanced age means that the victim is older than 65 years of age. Homeless status means that the victim:

a. Lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; or

b. Has a primary nighttime residence that is:

(I) A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations; or

(II) A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

(2) A person or organization that establishes by clear and convincing evidence that it has been coerced, intimidated, or threatened in violation of this section has a civil cause of action for treble damages, an injunction, or any other appropriate relief in law or in equity. Upon prevailing in such civil action, the plaintiff may recover reasonable attorney fees and costs.