H. Michael Steinberg has over 32 years experience practicing Colorado criminal law. Mr. Steinberg strives to stay current with the ever changing aspects of criminal law issues and updates resulting in his extensive knowledge of successful criminal defense as well as appellate work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, the Colorado Trial Lawyer's Association, and the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations.
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Colorado Hate Crimes on The Decline – But Not For the Reasons You May Think

The Denver Post recently reported that hate crimes in Colorado fell almost 30 percent between 2009 and 2010.

The national report released by the FBI on Monday found that Colorado law-enforcement agencies reported 154 hate crimes last year, down from 218 a year earlier. In 2008, 164 bias-motivated offenses were logged across the state.

H. Michael’s Take

Any criminal defense lawyer will tell you that Colorado’s hate crime statute is used more and more rarely by prosecutors. As explained on my primary website:

How Often are There Allegations of Bias Motivated Crime?

Hate crimes are classified as those motivated by biases based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin or disability.As a practical matter, the hate crime enhancement is used very rarely.

Obviously, even the connotation of a “hate crime” evokes emotion, passion, and politics, and usually both sides of a criminal matter want to avoid these factors if possible. If you get caught up in a prosecution and receive notice of a sentencing enhancement under these laws, make sure your lawyer understands these laws.