There was a time in the United States where various individuals had no civil rights whatsoever. For the most part, those days have come and gone; but that doesn’t mean that some people’s rights aren’t still routinely trampled upon. Luckily, there are now laws in place to protect individuals of certain backgrounds from unfair discrimination. Someone who violates another person’s civil rights, or worse, commits a hate crime, can face serious consequences in the state of California.
What are Civil Rights Violations?
Civil rights violations, as defined by California, are violations against people that are committed based solely on their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, gender or a disability. “Perceived” means that if a crime is committed against a person because it’s believed that they’re gay, black or another “protected status,” even if they aren’t, the person who committed it can still be charged with a crime.
Civil rights violations can actually stand as crimes in themselves. This means that no other statute must be violated other than restricting a person’s civil rights. For example, an employer who gives time off to white employees to go vote, but doesn’t do so for his African American employees, may have committed a civil rights crime.
It must be noted, though, that civil rights violation charges can be much more serious. If a person commits a misdemeanor or felony, other than the aforementioned restriction of civil rights, based on one of the previously mentioned protected statuses, they can be charged with a hate crime. This will constitute a misdemeanor unless the crime committed caused an injury, resulted in property damage of more than $950 or if the person accused was previously convicted of a hate crime.
Bail Associated with Civil Rights Violations
The bail fees that a person faces related to a civil rights violation will vary, based on whether or not the crime constituted a hate crime and where it occurred within the state. Interfering with someone’s civil rights, without violence for instance, constitutes a $10,000 bail amount in Los Angeles County. In the same county, however, a civil rights violation that is considered a hate crime will add an additional $25,000 to whatever bail amount was set for the underlying crime.
The $25,000 bail amount in Los Angeles is almost representative of California as a whole. For instance, Santa Barbara and Sonoma Counties have the same $25,000 bail amount. Luckily, a person doesn’t have to pay this whole amount to get out. A Bail Hotline agent can quickly ascertain the probable dollar figure from the jail’s bail schedule, and assist with your release for a small percentage of the set amount.
Penalties Associated with Civil Rights Violations
The standalone civil rights violation, with no other crime committed can result in one year in jail, fines reaching $5,000 plus 400 hours of community service. When a hate crime becomes a felony, due to one of the aforementioned instances (such as physical harm), the punishment can jump up to three years in prison and fines of $10,000.
If the underlying crime is already a felony, however, and also constitutes a hate crime, an additional sentence of up to three years can be tacked on to whatever punishment is handed down for the underlying crime.
Civil rights violations and hate crimes are taken very seriously in California. Anyone charged with these crimes will want to be released soon as possible and find a very good attorney. In most instances, due to the high bail fees, this makes it necessary to use a bail bond agency to quickly get out of jail. At that point, a person can begin working on their defense.