Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the difference between a Hate Crime and a Hate Incident?
Please see "What is a Hate Crime" and "What is a Hate Incident."
I am an illegal immigrant. Will I get deported if I report a Hate Crime?
No. Your information is confidential. If it becomes necessary to file a police report, your immigration status will not be revealed.
What is a Hate Crime?
A Hate Crime is a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim: Disability, Gender, Nationality, Race or Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Association with a person or group of persons with one or more of the preceding actual or perceived characteristics. Under California law there are enhanced penalties for these types of crimes. Some examples of hate crimes include: spray-painting racist/homophobic/religious graffiti on the property of someone(s) within the above groups, burning a cross on an individual’s lawn, criminal threat of violence against a specific individual or group, assault, attempted murder and murder.
What is a Hate Incident?
A Hate Incident is an action or behavior that is motivated by hate, but is protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. The freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, such as the freedom of speech, allow hateful rhetoric as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. Examples of hate incidents can include: name calling, epithets, the distribution of non-threatening racist flyers in public, the display of non-threatening anti-gay or lesbian placards at a parade, or a publication slurring people with disabilities. Documented hate incidents can possibly be used to show motivation of bias if a person goes on to commit a hate crime.
What is the punishment for someone who committed a hate crime? What about a hate incident?
Punishments for hate crimes vary depending in the severity of the crime. Punishments can range from fees to jail time, or both. Often, a hate crime is part of another offense (such as theft) which will have its own consequence. A judge will take all offenses into account when passing a judgment. Hate incidences are not viewed as crimes and are not punishable by the law. However, they can be documented, and multiple records of hate incidences can possibly lead to more severe consequences to other crimes that a person may commit.