When individuals are convicted of criminal offenses that are considered hate crimes, they become subject to harsher penalties under Arizona law. One example of this is evident through a recent case in which a Phoenix man ended up being sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and more than $8,000 in restitution for an assault offense that involved anti-gay slurs. The case was described in a news article on Gannett's AZCentral.com.
According to the article, the 24-year-old man and his brother were accused of using the anti-gay slurs multiple times and punching a Phoenix activist/entertainer and his friend on a Phoenix street last fall. The attack allegedly occurred after the activist left a gay and lesbian nightclub. He ended up receiving a cut and two fractures below his eye from the assault, which consisted of two punches, as noted in the news story. The restitution is being used to cover the individual's medical bills arising related to the incident. The man who was convicted claims that the activist was simply shoved to the ground after he almost ran into the two brothers on his bicycle, which led to an exchange of words between the parties.
The state of Arizona has a statute that requires a sentencing enhancement (or harsher sentencing) for felonies that involve bias, which is essentially a felony that is deemed a hate crime. According to Arizona Revised Statute §13-701,, these are crimes that are committed out of malice toward a victim due to his or her having (or being perceived as having) a certain a certain sexual orientation, gender, religion, race, etc. The statute, which was established in 2010, deems type of discrimination as constituting "aggravating circumstances," which therefore make the offense more serious.
Due to this statute, the 24-year-old man ended up facing more serious repercussions for his conviction than he would have received if the assault had not be deemed a hate crime. The man recently received his sentence in Maricopa Superior Court. His brother also received a six-month sentence, as well as three years of intensive probation.
If you have been accused of a crime that is being labeled as a hate crime, you need to be aware that you could be at risk of receiving an enhancement if you are convicted. With even more at stake, you need to make sure that you have the strongest level of defense. The Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC handles charges for various types of violent offenses, as well as
domestic violence and many other criminal offenses. We are not afraid to handle challenging cases, including those that involve enhancements. It might be possible to show that your offense does not merit more serious penalties, or even that you are innocent.
Contact the firm to learn more about your legal options.