Hate crimes in North Carolina – Usually, we don’t say “I don’t even know how to start this one” when it comes to our blogs. But this one is a little different due to the sensitive subject matter. Hate crimes are not easy to talk about. Just the term itself likely produces vivid images in the minds of those who hear it. But many uncomfortable things fester and get worse when they are not discussed, so it is sometimes best to tackle these difficult subjects.
In this blog, we are going to do just that and discuss hate crimes in North Carolina. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only, and not as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
What are hate crimes?
A hate crime is a crime committed where the perpetrator’s motive was based on prejudice or bigotry towards a person on the basis of a particular class, such as race or religion. Charges for hate crimes vary from state to state, with some states not having them at all.
Punishment enhancement for crimes committed with ethic animosity
N.C.G.S. 14-3 details the punishment enhancements of misdemeanors, infamous offenses, offenses committed in secrecy and malice, or with deceit and intent to defraud, or with ethnic animosity. If a misdemeanor is perpetrated because of the victim’s race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin, the classification of the crime is enhanced as follows:
- Class A1 or Class 1 misdemeanors – become Class H felony
- Class 2 or 3 misdemeanors – become Class 1 Misdemeanor
- Misdemeanors without prescribed class – become Class H felony
A few examples of specific “hate crimes”
Nothing in North Carolina is labeled as a hate crime in the statute, but there are certain crimes that involve activities that can be argued to be hate crimes, including but not limited to the following:
- Ethic Intimidation – North Carolina General Statute 14-401.14
- “If a person shall, because of race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin, assault another person, or damage of deface the property of another person, or threaten to do any such act,” he is guilty of this crime.
- Cross Burning – North Carolina General Statute 14-12.12
- “It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to place or cause to be placed on the property of another in this state a burning or flaming cross or any manner of exhibit in which a burning or flaming cross, real or simulated, is a whole or a part, without first obtaining written permission of the owner of occupier of the premises so to do.”
- Holding meetings while wearing masks and hoods – North Carolina General Statute – 14-12.10
- “No person or persons at least 16 years of age shall while wearing a mask, hood or device whereby the person, face or voice is disguised so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, hold any manner of meeting, or make any demonstration upon the private property of another unless such person or persons shall first obtain from the owner or occupier of the property his or her written permission to do so, which said written permission shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of the county in which said property is located before the beginning of such meeting or demonstration.”
All of the above-mentioned crimes are Class 1 Misdemeanors and follow the North Carolina misdemeanor sentencing guidelines.
**Important note**: Convictions of these crimes can never be expunged.
If you have been charged with a crime, and need a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina or South Carolina, contact us.