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President Joe Biden signed a bill to combat the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes on May 20, 2021. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has experienced a significant increase in hate crimes directed toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). 

Known as the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, the law will create a new position at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to expedite review of potential COVID-19-related local, state, and federal hate crimes and incidents.  

Additionally, the DOJ and Health and Human Services (HHS) will work together with community-based organizations to create guidelines for raising awareness of anti-Asian hate crimes and performing public outreach, as well as require the Attorney General to issue guidance to work with local and state police departments to create an online reporting system of such crimes. 

In April, the Senate passed the legislation with an overwhelming 94-1 vote. On May 18, the House passed the measure in a 364-62 vote. 

According to federal criminal law, a hate crime is defined as willfully causing bodily injury, attempting to cause such injury, displaying a firearm, or displaying a dangerous weapon because of the actual or perceived race, color, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability of another person. 

A first-time federal hate crime offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years. However, if a first offense involves a person dying from the crime, kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse, attempted sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, then a conviction carries a life sentence or any term of years. 

If you or a loved one has been charged with a federal crime in Miami, FL, contact the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. today at (305) 400-0074 for a free case evaluation. More than 19 years of trial-tested experience! 

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