Hate Crimes in Florida

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Most states, including Florida, have enacted laws to severely punish individuals who commit hate crimes. According to Florida law, a hate crime is defined as a criminal act or an attempted criminal act committed by someone against a person, an individual’s property, or a group because of the alleged victim’s “personal characteristics.” 

Personal characteristics include: 

  • Race and color 

  • Ethnicity or nationality 

  • Sexual orientation 

  • Disability 

  • Age 

  • Religion 

As of February 16, 2021, a bill that would include offenses against someone based on their gender or gender identity is being heard by several committees in the Senate. The bill would also expand how disability is defined under the current law. 

The following are the conditions to be met for an offense to be a hate crime in Florida: 

  • The defendant intimidated, forced, or threatened someone else or another group because of certain personal characteristics. 

  • The plaintiff is part of a protected class and provided evidence of being offended by the defendant’s actions. 

  • The defendant was aware that the plaintiff is part of a protected class. 

Under § 775.085, Fla. Stat., the penalty for any misdemeanor or felony involving a hate crime will be reclassified by increasing the level of crime. For example, if the offense is originally a second-degree misdemeanor, then the hate crime would be classified to a first-degree misdemeanor. Therefore, a first-degree misdemeanor would be reclassified to a third-degree felony, a third-degree felony would be reclassified to a second-degree felony, a second-degree felony would be reclassified to a first-degree felony, and a first-degree felony would be reclassified to a life felony. 

Common types of criminal charges associated with hate crimes include: 

If you have been accused of a hate crime in Miami, contact the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. today at (305) 400-0074 for a free case review. Let a former state prosecutor with more than 19 years of criminal experience protect your rights and freedom.