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Hate Crime Defense Lawyers, New Brunswick NJ
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1, it is a felony offense to engage in illegal conduct for the purpose of intimidating an individual because of their face, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation. When someone commits a criminal offense with this intention, it is commonly referred to as a hate crime or bias crime. The law uses the term “bias intimidation” to describe this charge. If you were charged with this violation at Rutgers University or by the police in New Brunswick, South Plainfield, Old Bridge or Edison, you need to consult with an attorney immediately. A hate offense is taken extremely seriously by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and there is little hesitation of requesting imposition of maximum penalties if someone someone is convicted. The lawyers in the New Brunswick Office of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the know-how and skill to temper these efforts.
Elements of a Bias Offense Under N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1
In order to convict an individual under 2C:16-1, it must be established that the accused engaged in one of the criminal offenses set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:11 through 2C:18 and one (1) of the following:
- the crime was committed with the purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity; or
- while possessing knowledge that the conduct could cause an individual or group of individuals to be intimidated on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity; or
- caused the victim to be intimidated and the victim, considering the manner in which the offense was committed, reasonably believed that the offense was committed to intimidate the victim or a person or entity in whose welfare the victim is interested on the basis of race, religion, etc.
In determining whether the requirements of 2C:16-1 have been met, the law allows an inference (e.g. presumption) to be drawn that the criminal offense was committed for the purpose of intimidation where the victim was selected on the basis of his or her membership in the protected class (e.g. gender, race, etc.).
Grading of Hate Crimes. A bias intimidation offense is graded one degree higher than the underlying crime that was committed to “intimiate”. For example, if the predicate criminal violation was a disorderly persons offense, the bias intimidation charge would be graded one offense higher — as a fourth degree. If the underlying crime was a second degree aggravated assault, then the bias intimidation would be a first degree and so on. In addition, bias intimidation is a separate offense from the underlying crime such that an individual is subject to both charges and related penalties (i.e. they do not merge).
Penalties for Bias Intimidation in New Jersey
A first degree bias intimidation subjects an individual to a term of imprisonment of 10-20 years, except where the underlying crime was also a first degree, in which case the prison term is 15-30 years, with a presumptive term of 20 years. The jail term for a second degree bias intimidation is 5-10 years and is 0-5 years for a third degree bias intimidation. Fourth degree bias intimidation triggers a period in prison of 0-18 months. The fines for this offense are up to $200,000 for first degree, $150,000 for second degree, $15,000 for third degree and $10,000 for fourth degree.
Edison NJ Bias Defense Attorney
One of the largest ethnic concentrations in Middlesex County is Indian immigrants who have relocated in Edison New Jersey. Similar pockets of foreign born residents and religious communities can be found in Plainsboro, Highland Park, Cranbury, Woodbridge and East Brunswick. If you were accused of targeting these or any other group for bias/intimidation, you would be best served to hire a defense attorney who is capable of successfully defending you. The lawyers at our firm definitely possess this pedigree as former prosecutors who have over a century of collective experience. For an immediate free consultation with an attorney on our staff, call our East Brunswick Office at 732-227-1200.