Facing Hate Crime Charges in New York?

Seeking Immediate Counsel from a State Defense Lawyer is Imperative

The earlier you receive expert counsel, the more likely your matter will end favorably. If you’re facing prosecution, contact us immediately.

Hate Crime Charges in New York

Under New York Penal Law § 485.05, hate crimes is a criminal offense that prosecutors can bring in conjunction with another underlying offense when a defendant commits a crime against a victim based which was also, at least in part, motivated by a victim’s race, color, religion, age, disability, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. The severity of a hate crimes conviction depends on the gradation of the underlying offense.

Crimes carried out for the specific purpose of targeting a certain protected classes are treated exceptionally serious by the government. Whether the crime was motivated wholly or in part by the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, prosecutors charging individuals pursuant to the Hate Crime statute tend to implement a strict stance when it comes to plea bargaining and sentencing.

A hate crime charge is typically tacked onto another substantive crime where prosecutors believe the evidence supports that the defendant carried out an attack due to a victim’s specific characteristics. Some of the more common substantive, underlying charges lending way to a hate crime enhancement include assault, reckless endangerment, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, menacing, harassment, rape, and homicide.

  • Misdemeanors and Class “C,” “D,” or “E” Felonies:
    • A conviction of committing a hate crime that is usually classified as one of these offenses will raise the punishment to that for an offense one category higher. For example, a class D felony offense that is convicted as a hate crime will be sentenced as a class C felony, and so on.
  • Class B Felony:
    • When the original offense is classified as a Class “B” felony, a hate crime conviction will come with a minimum prison sentence of several years, with the precise length to be determined based on the specific underlying offense.
  • Class A-1 Felony:
    • When a Class “A-1” felony charge results in a hate crime conviction, the defendant will receive a minimum prison sentence of 20 years.

Your defense against hate crimes is crucial. Importantly, a well-experienced defense attorney will attack the most important element of this statute by convincing the government or a jury that the crime, if even committed, was not motivated by a specific bias towards a protected class.

Possible Sentencing & Penalties in New York

Hate Crime allegations are separate criminal offenses brought along with an underlying offense and can subject an individual to enhanced sentencing due to the defendant’s motivations.  Hence, if the underlying offense is a misdemeanor or a Class C, D or E felony, the hate crime will be graded one category higher than the underlying offense. If the underlying offense was a Class B felony, the maximum sentence will be either 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 years. And, if the underlying offense was a Class A-1 felony, the minimum term of incarceration is not less than 20 years.

How We Fight Hate Crime Charges in New York

Hate Crime offenses are incredibly serious and typically end up garnering press attention. Yet, hate crimes are also ripe for creative and thorough defenses where counsel can pivot and show that the crime was not borne out of a specific motivation against a specific class. When upgrading these charges, prosecutors face a tricky challenge in proving a defendant’s true intent (i.e., racially motivated). They will look for words which were stated or messages which were transmitted. Without these pieces of evidence, a defense lawyer can look to file pretrial motions to limit these charges back down to what they should have been to begin with.

Your Defense Begins Now

If you are being prosecuted for a hate crime, hire a former prosecutor and preeminent defense attorney who has dealt with these charges on both sides of the courtroom. Being charged with these offenses can have a lasting impact. The steps your defense attorney takes, by way of investigation and creative advocacy, will increase your chances of successfully walking away from these accusations and shape the rest of your life.

The sooner you put your case in the hands of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more likely your matter will end favorably. Contact The Law Offices of Jason Goldman today.

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