Acting in a criminal manor based on bias and prejudice will result in not just the charge of the act, but in acting with the bias and prejudice. Hate crimes are not treated lightly in New York and are serious in nature. This charge is considered a violent felony, and typically falls under felony convictions. Hate crimes apply when a person has intentionally selected a person who they are committing the offense against due to race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation. For the purpose of the statute, age means if the person is 60 years of age or older and disability applies to a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. In the more recent years, the list of groups included for which hate crimes against are illegal has been expanded.
There are over fifty different acts listen in the statute on hate crimes that are illegal if they are committed against a person because of a category that they fall into. While manslaughter, stalking, burglary and criminal mischief are crimes on their own, they become elevated if the victim has been specifically chosen because they fall into one of the categories listed above. Regardless of the original crime, whatever the initial charge would be, the punishment involving a hate crime will automatically make the crime rate one class higher. What this means, is that if the charge is initially a class E felony, it will now be charged as a class D felony if it is found that the person who committed the act was acting against the victim(s) because they belonged to a specific class and they were intentionally chosen. The law also states that there are different minimum and maximum years that apply to the sentence. For example, if a person is convicted of what would a be a class A felony, the sentence will be a minimum of a 20 year sentence.
In addition to the criminal sentence for the hate crime, additional sanctions could be imposed on the person charged. One type of sanction could be counseling, or programs directed towards hate crime prevention and education. These types of programs have been developed by the court or authorized local agencies in order to not only treat those who decide to act in such a way that designates a hate crime, but to prevent further actions taking place.
Because these acts are generally charged as felonies, it is important that you call our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys now to discuss what options are available for handling your case. A felony conviction changes your ability to participate in normal life as a citizen, prohibiting you from purchasing any firearms in the future, not allowing you to be eligible for welfare benefits or federally subsidized housing and even excluding you from certain jobs or professionally licensed certificates. For these reasons and more, call Tilem & Associates now to speak with one of our attorneys who can help you navigate these charges and achieve the best possible result.