Hate crimes are criminal acts or attempted criminal acts motivated by prejudice against the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, disability or political affiliation. A crime is a hate crime even if the perpetrator merely perceives that the victim is disabled or that the victim is of a certain race, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, religion or political affiliation.
If you have been the subject of a hate crime, you have rights against the perpetrator(s) of the crime. California has its own civil statutes that protect persons from hate crimes and discrimination, including the Ralph Civil Rights Act and the Bane Civil Rights Act. These acts are codified as California Civil Code sections 51.7 and 52 and enable the government and private individuals to commence civil rights actions against perpetrators of hate crimes.
Both sections prohibit violence or threats of violence based on person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability or position in a labor dispute. Where a person is a victim of a hate crime, these laws allow the government to impose a civil penalty up to $25,000 on the perpetrator. These laws also provide civil remedies for victims of hate crimes.
Speak to a Qualified Los Angeles Hate Crime Lawyer
Under California Law, victims of hate crimes are entitled to bring a private lawsuit against the perpetrator. Victims of hate crimes can seek restraining orders against the perpetrator and actual damages of up to $150,000 to cover the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, damaged property and damages for pain and suffering. Victims may also be entitled to recover attorney’s fees.
Limitations Period/Statute of Limitations: In cases alleging hate violence, lawsuits must be filed within one year of the day the victim becomes aware of the perpetrator’s identity, but not more than three years from the date of injury.
If you or someone you know is the victim of a hate crime, it is important that you contact local law enforcement to file a report. It is also important to contact a Los Angeles civil rights attorney to determine if you have a claim under the Ralph Act. The statute of limitations for the Ralph Act provides victims only one year to bring a suit from the day the victim learns of the perpetrator’s identity, so it is important to contact an attorney early on to preserve your rights.
Our Los Angeles Hate Crime Attorneys offer free consultations to offer victims the opportunity to discuss the facts of their case and understand their rights under the Ralph Act. Contact an attorney at Harrington Law to arrange a Free Consultation.