Georgia’s Hate Crime Law
Atlanta Defense Attorney for Hate Crime Charges
For many years, Georgia was among the few states in the U.S. with no hate crime law. That changed when Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation in June 2020. The previous hate crime law that passed in 2000 was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2004 for being too broad and too vague.
Attorney Matthew T. McNally is well-versed on the new law and its implications. If you are charged with a hate crime, or could potentially be charged with a hate crime, he has your back to aggressively defend you against the charges.
The 2020 law imposes additional penalties for hate crimes and requires that the state collect data on hate-crime incidents.
What Is a Hate Crime?
An incident is designated a hate crime if the alleged perpetrator is motivated by the victim’s:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
If You Are Charged with a Hate Crime, You Are Subject to Additional Penalties
Under Georgia’s hate crime law, a person found guilty of committing a hate crime would face an additional 6 to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for one of five misdemeanor offenses, and at least two years in jail for a felony offense.
This law also requires law enforcement officers to complete a written report when investigating any offenses that might be a hate crime. The Bias Crime Report will include such information as the complainant’s name and protected status and whether any evidence exists that ties the incident to the victim’s actual or perceived attributes.
The fact that an aggressor and victim are of different races or other protected classes does not mean the hate crimes law automatically applies.
Exercise Your Rights
A law enforcement officer must advise you of your Miranda Rights before custodial interrogation begins. If you have been arrested, exercise your Miranda Rights:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
Do not attempt to explain what happened. You could be creating additional problems for yourself. Say nothing and call Attorney McNally.
Federal Hate Crime Laws
The Department of Justice enforces federal hate crimes laws that cover certain crimes committed based on the same eight protected classes in Georgia’s law. The DOJ began prosecuting federal hate crimes cases after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The first separate federal hate crimes law was The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. Sexual orientation and gender identity were not protected prior to the passage of this Act. Other federal laws passed since that time include interfering with housing rights and damaging church property as hate crimes.
Proving Hate Crime Motivation
Prosecutors may look at a defendant’s social media, diaries, and other evidence to determine if there is a pattern or animus toward any particular group of people. Proving motivation can be difficult. Attorney McNally can skillfully look at your circumstances to discredit the prosecution’s case.
Protect Your Freedom & Reputation
Hate crime charges have an especially damaging effect on your character. Don’t gamble on a less-experienced defense lawyer. Attorney Matthew T. McNally zealously protects your rights and steadfastly defends you every step of the way.
For a free consultation about your defense, contact the firm onlineor by phone at (678) 918-4421.