The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Minneapolis Hate Crimes

By Kirk Anderson on November 8, 2016

THE GOOD

Reported hate crimes are down overall in Minnesota. In fact, since 2010, hate crimes appear to have dropped by about 25 percent overall.

THE BAD

Hate crimes against Muslims have risen a dramatic 78 percent in 2015 when compared to previous years’ numbers. Numbers so far for 2016, seem to show this trend increasing.

THE UGLY

Hate crimes seem to follow national and regional crime trends. Also, it was noted in research conducted by the FBI, that certain events precipitate a rise in hate crimes against specific groups. Of note, when same-sex marriage was made legal in Massachusetts, hate crimes against the LGBT community rose dramatically.

LEGAL DEFINITION OF HATE CRIME

A hate crime is defined as the following:

A criminal act that involves one (or more) of three specific crime groupings (assault, property damage and harassment/stalking), that is directed toward an individual or group that is (or perceived to be) a member of a protected class as defined by the Minnesota Human Rights Act and is motivated by a offender bias.

In Minnesota, if an individual is charged with a hate crime offense and has been found guilty of a similar offense within the last five years, then the new charge becomes a felony.

If found guilty on a first offense, the individual could face up to one year in jail and/or a $3000 fine. The punishment is the same for the felony charge, however, the accused is now has a felony conviction on their record.

Felonies can cause long-term issues for individuals. Gainful employment may be difficult to obtain and steady income becomes difficult to maintain. Personal relationships suffer and the accused now becomes a victim of bias themselves from those who look at them with a suspicious eye due to their arrest record.

Today’s sensitive times mean that hate crimes are pursued very aggressively by law enforcement and prosecutors in an effort to prevent escalating or retaliatory events.

If you have been charged with a hate or bias crime, you will need a vigorous local criminal defense expert in Minneapolis. Call our office immediately to schedule a consultation with our attorneys to discuss your case.