What Are Hate Crimes in Oklahoma And How Are They Punished?

Assault and Battery Against a Pregnant Woman

Hate crimes In Oklahoma are often charged as a felony offense by the prosecutors. This kind of crime is defined as any criminal act committed against a person, group, or property. Also, the crime must be motivated by a specific reason based on who that person is or the group they belong to. As national attention has turned to crimes committed because of race or other factors the prosecution has sometimes piled on to those accused. Additionally, the specific definition and legal framework for hate crimes can vary by jurisdiction. Thus this means it’s important to refer to the relevant Oklahoma state laws for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Hate Crimes In Oklahoma 

Oklahoma’s hate crime law prohibits intentional and illegal behavior aimed at persons in protected classes. These protected classes are relevant in the context of anti-discrimination laws and prosecutions. This is especially when they establish the grounds for legal action against individuals or entities who engage in discriminatory practices or hate crimes targeting individuals based on these protected characteristics. These include:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Ancestry
  • National Origin
  • Disability

Anyone who commits a crime of assault, battery, harassment, or vandalism that is directed at a person because of their race, religion, or disability is committing two crimes–the underlying crime of assault, battery, harassment, or vandalism, as well as a hate crime because of who the person is.

Government Reporting Requirements

Law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma are required to report incidents of hate crimes to the OSBI. The state tracks and reports the total number of hate crimes and shares this information with federal agencies. Further, the primary reporting mechanism for hate crimes is the Hate Crime Statistics Program administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Therefore, law enforcement agencies across the country are encouraged to report hate crime data to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

Punishment For Hate Crimes In Oklahoma

The punishment for a hate crime in Oklahoma depends on the severity of the offense. If the underlying offense is a misdemeanor the punishment is lesser. This punishment may include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. In addition, if the offense connected to the hate crime is a felony the punishment is enhanced. Therefore this punishment may include imprisonment for up to life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

It is key to remember that the person who commits a hate crime can face punishment for the underlying crime as well as punishment for the fact that it was a hate crime. For example, an aggravated assault and battery alone carries a potential punishment of up to five years in prison, plus the addition of a prison sentence and fines for the fact that it was a hate crime that targeted the victim because of their race, religion, or disability.

Other Consequences Of Hate Crimes

In addition to criminal penalties, hate crimes in Oklahoma may also result in civil liability. Victims of hate crimes may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Additionally, the perpetrators of hate crimes may be required to pay damages and other costs associated with the crime. For those convicted of a hate crime the consequences depend on the level of violence. Therefore, if it involved inflicting or attempting to inflict serious bodily harm or death or the use of a deadly weapon, consequences are grave. In many cases a hate crime conviction will usually also include being forbidden from accessing or possessing guns.

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Tulsa Okla. Criminal Lawyers Near You

Hate crimes are taken very seriously in Oklahoma. State law enforcement agencies are fully committed to investigating and prosecuting hate crimes of the law. If you are accused of a hate crime, it is crucial that you get a lawyer. The experienced Tulsa criminal law attorneys at Kania Law understand what is required to get the best result in your criminal case. Put our legal team in your corner. Call 918-743-2233 or contact us online for more information and to schedule a consultation.

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