What is a Hate Crime in Brooklyn, NY?
A recent report stated that hate crimes are up 76% here in the Brooklyn area, as well as in the rest of New York City.
Hate crimes are covered by New York Penal Code 486.05.
According to the code, a person commits a hate crime when:
- They intentionally select a target in whole or in substantial part because the perpetrator has a belief or a perception about that person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender identity or expression, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation, regardless of whether the perception is correct.
- The crime they commit against that target is an assault, a form of menacing, a form of reckless endangerment, manslaughter, strangulation, stalking, sexual abuse, rape, coercion, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, criminal trespass, burglary, criminal mischief, arson, larceny, harassment, soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism, possession of a chemical or biological weapon, use of a chemical or biological weapon, or any conspiracy to commit these offenses.
In short, it is a crime, usually violent, that is motivated by bias or bigotry. It is not a mere exercise of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is protected, and does not involve the commission of any crime.
Why are hate crimes singled out?
The law singles out hate crimes because these crimes create a level of psychological impact and harm that extend beyond the individual victim. They can terrorize the victim’s entire community: anyone who shares that person’s identity.
Indeed, terrorizing the entire community is, more often than not, one of the motivations for committing the hate crime in the first place.
Are hate crimes punished more harshly?
Yes. There are federal penalties for hate crimes as well as harsher state penalties. In New York, when the DA determines that you have committed a hate crime and that crime is a misdemeanor, or Class C, D, or E felony, then the charges will be one category higher than the offense level.
In other words, if you commit a Class C felony and it’s considered a hate crime, you will be charged with a Class B felony instead, which means higher fines and more jail time, as well as fewer options for plea bargains or alternative sentencing. If you’re being charged with a hate crime you need a criminal lawyer’s help more than ever; our ability to prove the actions were not motivated by bias could become a major issue in your cases and could make a decade’s worth of difference, or more, in terms of any jail time you stand to face.
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We don’t support or endorse hate of any kind, but we have a job to do: defending everyone who comes to us.
If you’re in trouble and are facing criminal charges, reach out today. We’re not here to judge you: we’re here to help you.