Ethnic Intimidation


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If you make threats or slurs based on another person’s race, religion or ethnic group while you commit another crime, the seriousness of your charges will be intensified.

Should you be charged with ethnic intimidation, you may be facing jail time, fines and a record, as well as negative repercussions that will harm your reputation and can potentially cost you your job. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fully understand the charges against you and give you a strong defense.

What You Need To Know About Ethnic Intimidation

In Pennsylvania, a person commits ethnic intimidation if he or she acts with malicious intent toward a racial, religious or other group while committing a crime.

The offense covers intimidation based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • A mental or physical disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender or gender identity

The alleged victim does not actually have to be a member of the minority group that is being referred to in the threats. Their identity can be actual or perceived.

If you are charged with ethnic intimidation, other charges against you will be classified one degree higher. For example, if you are charged with a summary offense for breaking someone’s window, but you also painted a racial slur on their garage, your charge will be classified higher and turned into a misdemeanor.

What To Do If You Are Charged

If you have been charged with ethnic intimidation, the police believe you were motivated to commit a crime by hatred of an actual or perceived member of the minority groups listed above.

For example, if you scream ethnic slurs at someone and threaten to kill them, the police will charge you with ethnic intimidation because they have reason to think your threat to kill is linked to hatred of the ethnic group you insulted.

If you are charged with ethnic intimidation you will need to retain a lawyer as soon as you can.

As with most criminal charges, you should not talk to the police or prosecutors without your attorney by your side. What you say can be taken out of context and used against you. If the police question you, tell them you want a lawyer and politely refuse to answer their questions.

Your attorney should carefully review every aspect of your case to determine if there is evidence for all you have been accused of.

How A Lawyer Will Help

Your attorney will analyze your case and investigate what occurred. If your case does go to trial, he or she will do everything possible to achieve the most positive outcome possible for you.

Pennsylvania Ethnic Intimidation Law

Ethnic intimidation is described and defined under The Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18 Chapter 27. Read the code here.

Questions? Contact us today.

Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to show that the charges should be dismissed. If it’s in your best interest, we will work to negotiate a lesser sentence or determine if we should try the case in court. Should the case go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.