Search Site
IBC Centre, 130 East Travis Street, Suite #425 | San Antonio, TX 78205
Hate Crimes

San Antonio Hate Crime Defense Lawyer Fights Enhanced Charges

Skilled and determined representation for state and federal charges

In 2001, Texas adopted the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, named for a black man who was killed by white supremacists in Jasper in 1998. The law was intended to add an extra layer of deterrence to violent crimes committed for discriminatory reasons. A defendant is charged with a higher-degree offense and so is in jeopardy of more severe punishment. If you are facing hate crime charges in Texas, Kevin L. Collins, P.C. can provide you with knowledgeable and skilled representation, protecting your rights while working for the best possible outcome.

What constitutes a hate crime under Texas law?

Under Texas law, an offense becomes a hate crime when the offender acts out of bias against the victim’s real or perceived race, religion, color, sex, disability, sexual preference, age or national origin. Also included among protected victims are peace officers and judges. A prosecutor must prove explicit motivation related to prejudice, hatred, or advocacy of violence.

Hate crimes should not be confused with hate speech. There is no statute outlawing or even defining hate speech, which is open to individual interpretation. Someone might call a statement hate speech but the content of that speech might be perfectly lawful under the First Amendment. With a hate crime, there is an underlying criminal offense. Common examples of underlying offenses that can be enhanced to hate crimes are assault, aggravated assault, vandalism of property, robbery and criminal harassment.

How offenses are enhanced to hate crimes in Texas

Generally, when a defendant is charged with a hate crime, the underlying offense is bumped up to the next degree. Thus, a Class C misdemeanor becomes a Class B misdemeanor. There are limits to this rule, however. The law does not enhance a Class A misdemeanor to a felony. Instead, the law raises the minimum jail time to 180 days. There is also no enhancement for a first-degree felony, which already is punishable by up to life in prison.

Federal hate crime laws

A federal crime may be charged if there is evidence the accused person acted on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability to deprive a citizen of a constitutionally protected right. Federal hate crime laws can come into play for any of the following:

  • Willfully causing bodily injury or attempting to do so using a dangerous weapon
  • Using force or threatening to do so to interfere with housing rights
  • Defacing, damaging or destroying religious real property
  • Intentionally obstructing any person’s free exercise of religion
  • Using force or threat of force to willfully interfere with another person’s voting rights, public education, employment, jury duty, travel or enjoyment of public accommodations

Federal hate crimes also include conspiracies to deny people constitutional rights on the basis of unlawful discrimination.

In defending against hate crime charges, Kevin L. Collins challenges every element of the underlying offense as well as the basis for enhancement. He raises every pertinent fact that would shed doubt on allegations of bias and thereby weaken the government’s case.

Contact an effective criminal defense attorney in San Antonio to fight hate crime charges

Kevin L. Collins, P.C. provides aggressive defense to state and federal hate crime charges in San Antonio, Texas and vicinity. To schedule a consultation, call 210-598-8629 or contact us online.

COVID-19 Notice
We are here to help and support you through these generally challenging times with your specific legal issues. You will be able to reach me or my staff through our main telephone numbers, and of course by email: [email protected]. Phone conferences for existing and potential clients are available, as is the video conference feature through the Zoom app. Zoom may present some privacy challenges so phone conferences are preferred. Please take care of your health by following the measures recommended by the CDC, and by state and local authorities.
Firm Recognition
  • Super Lawyers
    Best Law Firms 2021
  • Three Best Rated
  • ThreeBest Rated
Client Reviews
  • google

    Kevin Collins is an exceptional attorney. Mr. Collins has an outstanding reputation and came highly recommended by multiple attorneys. With the effort and professionalism he and his team dedicated to properly represent me, it is easy to understand wh...

    Read more

    M Webb

  • google

    Mr. Collins and his staff did a fantastic job with not only my case, but also putting up with my constant questions. This was my first time every dealing with something like this, so I had no idea what to expect. Mr. Collins always made time to reply...

    Read more

    Jordan Petrovich

  • google

    Helped me tremendously at a great price!

    Read more

    Krista Hicks

  • google

    Top tier professionalism and extremely knowledgeable of the ins and outs of the legal system. If you need a power house for an attorney, Kevin Collins is your man.

    Read more

    Abdallah Abdelaziz

  • google

    If you are facing any criminal charge you want Kevin to be your lawyer. He has a great staff that will keep you informed at every step of the process. Please listen to and follow his advice and you will have the best outcome possible.

    Read more

    Christian Oliver

See all reviews
Case Results
State of Texas v. J.T. Furnishing Alcohol to a minor dismissed after start of trial despite death caused by accident
View All
Contact us

Quick Contact Form