Capital Region Legal News

Saturday, November 26, 2016

'Rash of Hate Crimes' Reported Day After Trump's Election

What constitutes a “hate crime” and what can it mean for sentencing?

The entire country has seen an uptick in hate-crime violence in the wake of the election this month, as some Trump supporters have been emboldened by Trump’s campaign positions against minority groups.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, suicide hotlines are ringing off the hook, reports of school bullying has increased and more KKK literature drops have been witnessed. Swastikas painted next to Trump’s name have also been found scrawled on vehicles, homes and buildings associated with minority groups.

The Law Center has received over 400 reports of violence and intimidation between November 8th and November 14th against people of color, Muslims, immigrants, the L.G.B.T. community, and women.

What constitutes a “hate crime” in New York?

New York enacted legislation aimed at targeting hate crimes in 2000, which defines what a hate crime is and what penalties shall be handed down when a crime is determined to be a hate crime.

NY Penal Code Section 485.05 identifies what constitutes a hate crime. A hate crime will be found if a defendant intentionally commits a crime against a victim in whole or in substantial part based on a belief or perception regarding the person’s: race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of the victim, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.

Specific offenses that can make up a hate crime include:

  • Assault
  • Menacing
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Strangulation
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Stalking
  • Rape or other sexual abuse
  • Kidnapping
  • Coercion
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Burglary
  • Larceny
  • Harassment

How Does a Hate Crime Designation Affect Sentencing in New York?

New York takes a tough stance on prosecuting hate crimes. If your crime is determined to be a hate crime, you can be prosecuted at a level one whole grade above the same offense that is not designated a hate crime. For example NY Penal Law Section 485.10 mandates:

  • Class B Misdemeanors rise to Class A Misdemeanors
  • Class A Misdemeanors rise to Class E Felonies
  • Class E Felonies rise to Class D Felonies
  • Class D Felonies rise to Class C Felonies
  • Class C Felonies rise to Class B Felonies

These crimes hold the following maximum sentences:

  • Class B Felony – at least six years.
  • Class B Felony, Second Offense – at least 10 years.
  • Class B Violent Felony – at least eight years.
  • Class B Violent Felony, Second Offense – at least 12 years.
  • Class B Felony, Juvenile Offender – at least four years.
  • A Class A-I Felony carries a minimum sentence at least 20 years.

Facing Hate Crime Charges?

If you have been arrested on a hate crime charge, it is critical that you talk with an attorney skilled at handling hate crime defenses. At Ianniello Anderson, P.C., our experienced criminal defense attorneys can assist you in fighting your assault or battery charges or working out a reduced sentence. If you are facing hate crime charges, call us today. Serving clients in the Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy, and the entire Northeastern NY areas at (518) 350.7755.

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