Since the 1960s, our nation’s commitment to equality has gained significant legal force. Discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation still happens, but at least now, in most cases it’s against the law. In the state of New York, a violent crime like assault or murder becomes a hate crime if a victim is selected as a target because of that victim’s gender, race, ancestry, nationality, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability. In fact, a hate crime takes place anytime offensive slurs accompany an assault or other violent crime. If you’ve been charged with a violent crime like assault or murder, and you’re additionally accused of a hate crime, seek the legal help you need and consult an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney immediately.

The federal government outlawed hate crimes with the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. In the state of New York, hate crimes are outlawed by Article 485 of New York Penal Law. If there is evidence of hate on the part of a suspect, any of these crimes could be charged as a hate crime:

  • homicide
  • assault
  • rape
  • robbery
  • reckless endangerment
  • bullying
  • verbal or sexual harassment
  • criminal trespassing
  • vandalism

When these crimes are committed as hate crimes in New York, and the specific offense is a misdemeanor or a class C, D, or E felony, the offense is charged as the next highest class of crime. In fact, you may be charged with a hate crime whether you actually committed the underlying crime, or if you just had intent to do so. Your reputation, your freedom, and your future are all at stake if you are accused of a hate crime, and the attorney you select could make the difference. You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can defend you against the crime itself and who can also prove that your acts were not motivated by hatred toward any individual or group. If you are accused of a hate crime on Long Island or anywhere in New York City, act at once and put your case in the hands of an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney.

When You’re A Person of Interest

If you learn that you’re the subject of a police investigation for a hate crime, it’s always best to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. If the police contact you first while conducting an investigation, do not provide a statement or consent to an interview. Of course, we all want to “explain” ourselves and “clear up” problems; that’s normal, but when the police are involved, it’s not wise. Anything you say can be used against you if you are arrested and charged with a crime. Any lawyer would recommend to you that you exercise your right to stay silent throughout the entire process and let your attorney do the talking. The only person you can really trust about a criminal investigation is your attorney. If you’re the subject of any criminal investigation in Suffolk County, call an experienced Suffolk County criminal defense attorney immediately.

After you’ve retained the services of a good criminal defense lawyer, that lawyer can notify law enforcement investigators that you are now represented by counsel. Police and prosecutors will be told not to question you without your attorney present. Your attorney can then begin his or her own investigation. Sometimes, an investigation can be concluded without any arrest taking place or charges being filed. Your lawyer may uncover evidence or witnesses who can prove your innocence or prove that you’ve been wrongly accused. When this happens, you’ll save yourself from the cost and aggravation of an unnecessary arrest, time unnecessarily wasted in court, and an unnecessary legal bill.

If an arrest and the filing of charges can’t be preempted, the right defense attorney will use every available legal tool on your behalf to bring the case to its best possible conclusion. If you are facing hate crime charges, don’t hesitate to contact a Long Island hate crimes attorney as soon as possible. The quicker that you contact an attorney to begin investigating the details of your case, the better chance you have at a favorable outcome. There is too much at risk for you to delay hiring an experienced Long Island hate crimes attorney.

Hire A Long Island Hate Crime Attorney

When you’re accused of a hate crime – or any crime, in fact – the mere accusation doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted. It’s still a jury’s duty to decide whether you are guilty of a violent crime and if that crime was committed with hateful intent. Nevertheless, if you’re charged with homicide or assault, and then allegations emerge that the crime was a hate crime, your already considerable troubles will grow worse. You’ll need sound legal counsel and skilled defense representation from a good Long Island criminal defense lawyer.

Proving intent can be very difficult for a prosecutor, but it is essential in order for hate crime charges to be brought against you. The prosecution must prove first that you felt hatred towards the victim solely because of his or her gender, race, ancestry, nationality, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability. Then, the prosecutor must prove that the crime you committed or attempted to commit was driven solely by this hatred that you felt towards the victim.

When you’re charged with any violent felony, the stakes are high. Your family, your future, and your freedom are at stake. A conviction for homicide or assault will lead to almost certain prison time along with fines and more. If a hate crime charge is attached to that felony, penalties will be even harsher. Your best hope for retaining your freedom – and clearing your name – is legal assistance from an aggressive, experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney. Because of the seriousness of a hate crime, it’s important that you don’t allow an overwhelmed and overworked public defender to take your case. If you’re charged with any violent crime in the New York City area, do not hesitate to make the call.