California’s hate crime statutes, beginning with Penal Code 422.55 PC, impose severe punishment for harming, threatening or harassing someone because of the person’s 1) disability, 2) gender, 3) nationality, 4) race or ethnicity, 5) religion or 6) sexual orientation.
California’s hate crimes laws have two major parts:
First, Penal Code 422.6 PC makes it a stand-alone crime to interfere with someone else’s civil rights, or damage or destroy their property, because that person has one of the characteristics in the list above.
Second, Penal Code 422.7 PC and Penal Code 422.75 PC provide that if 1) you commit a crime such as assault or vandalism and 2) you are motivated in part by the fact that the victim has one of the characteristics in the list above, the offense will be considered a “hate crime” and receive an enhanced sentence.
If charged with a simple stand-alone hate crime, you face 1 year jail time, a fine of up to $5,000, and up to four hundred (400) hours of community service. Unlike the criminal offense under Penal Code 422.6 PC, Penal Code 422.7 PC is simply an enhancement (additional penalty) that is imposed whenever you commit a “hate crime” which is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged either a as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If charged as a felony, you are facing 16 months, 2 or 3 jail time and a fine up to $10,000.
Penal Code 422.75 PC provides for an enhanced sentence for any separate crime that is a felony in California law if you committed a felony hate crime with another person, regardless of whether you personally committed the offense or aided and abetted the other person, you are facing an additional 2, 3 or 4 years jail time.
The court in most cases will impose a protective order (also known as a restraining order) as part of the terms of your probation, restitution and order you to attend 1 years worth of counseling.
Finally, you can be charged under multiple Federal statutes for “Hate Crimes” with penalties that are even more severe than in state court and serve time in a Federal Penitentiary.