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Being accused of a hate crime is serious and it can be very difficult for the person accused to remove this blackmark from their record or reputation. Hiring a lawyer might be the only way to prepare a compelling defense.

A recent state audit identified that California under-reports hate crimes and the audit blames the Department of Justice for failing to oversee law enforcement agencies tasked with managing hate crimes. State lawmakers, the public and the FBI may all not be receiving accurate information about hate crimes in California. According to state auditors, this is due to the fact that local law enforcement agencies in California don’t have the right training in policies.

The pursuit of hate crimes and associated criminal charges may increase in the coming years as a result. The audit blames the oversight agency, the Department of Justice, for not requiring that local agencies to do a better job of capturing this data and sharing it. Hate crimes in California surged by more than 20% between 2014 and 2016. Hate crimes are officially defined as those that target a victim due to their sexual orientation, ethnicity or race, religion, nationality, disability or gender. If a person has been accused of a hate crime, they need to be prepared with a compelling criminal defense strategy as soon as possible.

A Riverside criminal defense attorney should be brought into the action as soon as possible to evaluate the basis of the claims and to determine the most appropriate criminal defense strategy for the person in question. It can be overwhelming as well as socially stigmatizing to be accused of a hate crime, but this is what makes it all the more important to retain an attorney who will do everything possible to protect the rights of the person who is accused.

Regardless of the type of criminal charges facing a person, that individual retains certain constitutional rights that should be protected from the moment he or she is accused.