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Your Civil Remedies as a Victim of a Hate Crime

This content about civil rights was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

Hate crimes have devastating and long-lasting effects on individuals, families, and communities. According to a 2018 study by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, the most common Bias Motivation Categories in order of highest percentage were race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and gender.

Nonetheless, a person who suffers a hate crime may not necessarily belong to a protected class. It is enough for the criminal to perceive the victim as being part of a protected class and perpetrating a hate crime based on that bias. There are several laws and penal code sections that provide you with remedies if you’re ever the victim of a hate crime

California hate crime laws

A hate crime can be defined as a traditional criminal offense (arson, murder, vandalism) motivated partially or in whole by an element of bias. In California, two laws protect victims of hate crimes and that offer civil remedies, which are the Ralph Civil Rights Act and the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act.

  • Ralph Civil Rights Act: this act allows individuals to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator of hate violence or discrimination. A violent act does not have to occur, the threat of violence against a person can be enough to pursue the lawsuit.
  • Tom Bane Civil Rights Act: a civil lawsuit may be pursued under the Bane Act if there was interference with a person’s civil rights. This interference can appear as threats of violence, violent acts, intimidation, and coercion.

Additionally, Penal Code 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75 also provide dispositions regarding hate crimes.

Remedies

Under the Ralph Act and the Bane Act, victims can recover monetary damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and a civil penalty of $25,000. Monetary damages include lost wages, medical bills, loss of consortium, mental anguish, among others. Also, the Bane Act requires said monetary compensation to be at least $4,000, and the jury may triple this amount. On the other hand, the Ralph Act requires that the compensation be a minimum of $1,000. These civil rights acts also make it possible to get a restraining order against the defendant.

Proving your case

Depending on which civil rights act you choose to file your claim under, you have to prove certain points. This is where the legal expertise of a California civil rights lawyer can come in handy. He or she will be able to give you an honest and full assessment of your case so that you can make an informed decision.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.