Bias Crime Law and Legal Definition

Bias crime is a criminal offense that is committed against a person, property, group of people, or society motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a religion, race, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin. A bias crime is often referred to as a hate crime. A bias crime is committed pursuant to the perpetrator’s bias against the group to which the victim belongs.

The following is an example of a state statute (Indiana) defining the term:

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 10-13-3-1, as used in this chapter, "bias crime" means an offense in which the person who commits the offense knowingly or intentionally:

(1) selected the person who was injured; or

(2) damaged or otherwise affected property;

by the offense because of the color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation of the injured person or of the owner or occupant of the affected property or because the injured person or owner or occupant of the affected property was associated with any other recognizable group or affiliation.