A Colorado man is under arrest and facing felony hate crime charges in Boulder for allegedly pushing a woman to the ground and kicking her. During his assault, he shouted, “go back to China.” This increased his charges from assault to a bias-motivated crime causing injury which is a Class 5 felony offense.
There have been multiple hate crimes reported in Colorado in recent years. In fact, it seems that since 2016, FBI statistics have shown that hate crimes were up 200% in Boulder County. Most of these crimes were racially motivated. In fact, 15 of the 18 hate crimes committed in 2016 were because of perceived race.
Colorado law CRS § 18-9-121 makes it illegal for anyone in the state to knowingly cause bodily injury, damage to property, harass, intimidate, or threaten another person because of specific or perceived biases. Some of those biases include race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or gender. Anyone who breaks this law could be arrested and charged with a hate crime.
When Assault Becomes a Hate Crime
If the prosecution determines that the assault took place or was motivated by the victim’s perceived identity, then this could escalate the charges to a hate crime. Assault that is enhanced to a hate crime will be classified as either a Class 4 or Class 5 felony offense, depending on the seriousness of the incident and the victim’s injuries. A Class 5 felony offense is punishable by up to 3 years in state prison and fines up to $100,000. A Class 4 felony offense is punishable by up to 6 years in state prison and fines up to $500,000. As you can see, the stakes are high when you are charged with a hate crime.
Possible Defenses Against Hate Crime Charges
In order to be convicted of a hate crime, the prosecution must prove that the victim’s identity was the primary motive for committing the offense. Sometimes, they charge individuals with hate crimes simply because of the victim’s identity, religion, or sexuality, even when that was not a primary motive for the assault. Perhaps you weren’t aware of their ethnicity or of their sexuality?
Some of the possible defenses include:
- Insufficient evidence – your word versus their word
- Proof of innocence
- Mistaken identity
- Crime was not motivated against supposed target group
- Police misconduct
- Accidental injury
Contact Our Boulder Criminal Defense Lawyers
When you’ve been arrested and charged with a hate crime in Boulder, you need an experienced Boulder criminal defense lawyer that understands the severity of these charges and who can fight for you and your future. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297 immediately!