Charged With Bias Intimidation
New Jersey Bias Intimidation and Bullying Defense Trial Lawyer
Call 908-955-7065 for a Free Consultation
There are all kinds of scenarios wherein an issue of bias intimidation can arise. While the classic scenario is a bullying type scenario, there are also instances where an incident of criminal mischief, including destruction of property or graffiti, can result in bias charges under N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1. We have even seen situations where invasion of privacy can mushroom into an intimidation bias case. If you find yourself charged or being investigated under 2C:16-1 for a bias crime, we can help.
Attorney William D. Ware is a former prosecutor with the skill and experience to analyze your case, challenge the evidence against you, and advise you on a course of action. Whether he is negotiating the best plea deal available or representing you at a trial, he understands the system and knows how to assert and protect your rights.
New Jersey Bias & Intimidation Law – N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1
For the assistance of those reviewing this page, we are providing a full copy of the law in NJ that addresses the offense of bias intimidation. A summary of the law has also been provided for your guidance. In any case, the statute provides as follows:
Bias Intimidation. A person is guilty of the crime of bias intimidation if he commits, attempts to commit, conspires with another to commit, or threatens the immediate commission of an offense specified in chapters 11 through 18 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes; N.J.S. 2C:33-4; N.J.S. 2C:39-3; N.J.S.2C:39-4 or N.J.S. 2C:39-5,
(1) with a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity; or
(2) knowing that the conduct constituting the offense would cause an individual or group of individuals to be intimidated because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity; or
(3) 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 either that (a) the offense was committed with a purpose to intimidate the victim or any person or entity in whose welfare the victim is interested because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, or (b) the victim or the victim’s property was selected to be the target of the offense because of the victim’s race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
b. Permissive inference concerning selection of targeted person or property. Proof that the target of the underlying offense was selected by the defendant, or by another acting in concert with the defendant, because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity shall give rise to a permissive inference by the trier of fact that the defendant acted with a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
c. Grading. Bias intimidation is a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying offense referred to in subsection a. is a disorderly person’s offense or petty disorderly person’s offense. Otherwise, bias intimidation is a crime one degree higher than the most serious underlying crime referred to in subsection a., except that where the underlying crime is a crime of the first degree, bias intimidation is a first-degree crime and the defendant upon conviction thereof may, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S. 2C:43-6, be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 15 years and 30 years, with a presumptive term of 20 years.
Summary of the Bias Law. The law renders a person guilty of bias intimidation if he commits, attempts to commit, conspires to commit, or threatens the immediate commission of a criminal act involving danger to the person defined in the criminal code as 2C:11 through 2C:16 (homicide, assault and threats, kidnapping and related offenses, sexual offenses, robbery, bias crimes). Two offenses against property are also included, 2C:17 and 2C:18 (arson, criminal mischief and other property destruction, and burglary and other criminal intrusion). One or more of these offenses must be committed with the purpose to intimidate an individual or group because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ethnicity. It is also sufficient for the statute that the actor knows that the conduct of their offense would cause one of the aforementioned groups to feel intimidated.
Sentencing. Bias intimidation is graded as a crime one degree higher than the most serious related charge. For example, if the initial charge is a disorderly persons offense, the bias intimidation charge would be graded as a 4th degree crime. In addition to any fine or term of imprisonment imposed, a person convicted of bias intimidation is subject to sensitivity programs, counseling programs, and/or compensation payments to be made to any community organization that offers services to victims of bias intimidation.
The charge of Bias Intimidation exacerbates already serious charges. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime and the prosecutor is pursuing an additional “bias intimidation” charge, it is critical that you acquire a team of qualified attorneys to defend you. The Law Offices of William D. Ware, Esq., has over 20 years of criminal legal experience. Our firm stands ready to defend against “bias intimidation” charges, call us now for a free initial consultation at 908-955-7065.