Bias Intimidation can have serious consequences for both the victim and alleged aggressor. Whether the offense occurs at a high school, college, university, in the workplace or someone other environment, the law in New Jersey imposes serious penalties to deter mistreatment based on race, sex, religion or sexual orientation. Our firm, the Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver can help you if you have been charged with bias or intimidation under N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1. Give us a call today for immediate assist from an experienced bias intimidation defense attorney. We can be reached 24/7 for free initial consultations at 862-203-4070 and 862-203-4070.
Passaic City NJ Bias Crime Defense Attorneys
N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1 – Bias Intimidation Offense
New Jersey law makes it illegal to threaten or persecute an individual because of their color, religious affiliation or some other protected class membership (e.g. being gay or a lesbian). Under N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1, a person is guilty of the crime of bias intimidation if he or she commits, attempts to commit, conspires with another to commit, or threatens the immediate commission of a criminal offense:
- With a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity;
- Knowing that the conduct constituting the offense could cause an individual or group of individuals to be intimidated on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity; or
- Under circumstances that caused any victim of the underlying offense to be intimidated and the victim, considering the manner in which the offense was committed, reasonably believed that (a) either the offense was committed with a purpose to intimidate the victim or any person or entity in whose welfare the victim is interested on the basis of any of the above (namely race, color, religion, gender, etc.).
What are the Penalties For a Bias Intimidation Charge?
Bias intimidation is a crime that is always one degree higher in terms of grading than whatever the underlying offense is. This means that if the underlying offense is a disorderly persons offense that the bias intimidation charge is a fourth degree offense. This is true of every offense except where the underlying offense is that of a first degree offense in which case the bias intimidation charge is also a crime of the first degree. Upon conviction of a first degree offense of bias intimidation a person may be subject to an ordinary term of imprisonment from 15 to 30 years, with a presumptive term of 20 years. It is also important to note that a conviction for bias intimidation will not merge with a conviction for the underlying offense. What this means is that a person could hypothetically be convicted of a first degree offense carrying a prison sentence of 15 to 30 years and the bias intimidation charge to be served consecutively. Therefore, someone convicted of a first degree crime and first degree bias intimidation could serve upwards of 40 years in prison.
In addition to fines that may be imposed under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3 or prison time imposed under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6, a court may order a person convicted of bias intimidation to one or more of the following: (i) complete a class or program on sensitivity to diverse communities, or other similar training in the area of civil rights; (ii) Complete a counseling program intended to reduce the tendency toward violent and antisocial behavior; and/or (iii) Make payments or other compensation to a community-based program or local agency that provides services to victims of bias intimidation.
Bias Intimidation Attorneys in Clifton NJ
The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced Passaic County criminal defense law firm. We have extensive experience representing clients charged with aggravated assault, eluding, heroin possession unlawful possession of a weapon and terroristic threats. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in towns like Passaic City, Clifton, Wayne, Little Falls, Bloomingdale, Haledon, Hawthorne, Paterson or Woodland Park, we can help. For more information regarding a bias charge, give us a telephone call at 862-203-4070. We will be happy to review the facts of your case and provide our best preliminary advice regarding the offense you are facing.