Brooklyn Hate Crime Defense & Civil Rights Violations

Brooklyn Hate Crime Defense & Civil Rights Violations

Hate crimes and civil rights violations are serious issues in Brooklyn. According to the first search result from the Neil Ruskin Law Firm[1], hate crimes are up 76% in the Brooklyn area. Hate crimes are defined under New York Penal Code 485.05 as intentionally selecting a target based on their race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or other protected characteristics.

If convicted of a hate crime in New York, penalties can be substantially increased[1]. For example, if convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime, the charges may be raised to a Class A misdemeanor or even a Class E felony, resulting in higher fines and more jail time. Given the serious potential consequences, having an experienced Brooklyn hate crime defense attorney is critical.

Common Hate Crime Charges

According to the Law Offices of Julie Rendelman[20], some of the most common hate crime charges in Brooklyn include:

  • Assault
  • Harassment
  • Menacing
  • Vandalism

However, any crime can potentially become a hate crime if the prosecution can prove it was motivated by bias against the victim’s protected characteristics. Some characteristics covered under New York hate crime laws include[20]:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation

Penalties for Hate Crimes

According to Julie Rendelman[20], being convicted of a hate crime can result in substantially higher penalties compared to being convicted of the same crime without the hate crime designation. Potential penalties can include:

  • Increased fines
  • Longer probation periods
  • More jail time
  • Felony charges instead of misdemeanors

These increased penalties make having an experienced defense attorney critical for anyone facing hate crime charges in Brooklyn or elsewhere in New York.

Defending Against Hate Crime Charges

The Law Offices of Samuel Gregory[24] note that to secure a hate crime conviction, prosecutors must prove both that the underlying crime occurred and that it was motivated by bias against the victim’s protected characteristics. This means skilled Brooklyn hate crime defense attorneys have multiple avenues to defend their clients:

  • Fight the underlying charges (e.g. demonstrate the alleged assault did not occur)
  • Challenge the prosecution’s proof of bias motivation (e.g. demonstrate the crime was motivated by reasons other than hate or bias)

An example from the Julie Rendelman Law Firm[20] is an assault case where the assault charges could potentially be proven, but there is insufficient evidence to prove the assault was a premeditated hate crime. In cases like this, defeating the hate crime charge could make an enormous difference in the penalties faced by the defendant.

Civil Rights Violations

In additional to hate crime defense, civil rights violations are also a major issue in Brooklyn. According to attorneys Friedman Sanchez LLP[18], civil rights violations occur when government officials deny individuals their constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties. Some examples include:

  • Police brutality
  • False arrest
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Excessive or cruel punishments

When civil rights violations like these occur, the attorneys at Friedman Sanchez LLP specialize in building strong cases on behalf of their clients to hold the responsible parties fully accountable and prevent future violations[18].

Police Brutality

One specific type of civil rights violation is police brutality. According to Samuel Gregory[24], police brutality occurs when law enforcement officers use unreasonable or excessive force against civilians. Unfortunately, police brutality still occurs far too often in Brooklyn and across NYC.

The consequences of police brutality can be severe, resulting in significant injuries, trauma and other harms. Samuel Gregory is a leading Brooklyn civil rights attorney specializing in cases against police brutality and fighting for justice and compensation for victims[24].

False Arrest & Malicious Prosecution

Other types of civil rights violations include false arrest and malicious prosecution. As described by attorneys Phillips & Associates[6], false arrest occurs when police apprehend someone without proper legal justification. Malicious prosecution is when police and prosecutors knowingly bring charges against a defendant without supporting evidence.

False arrests, malicious prosecution and other civil rights violations can completely upend an innocent person’s life. In cases when this occurs, experienced civil rights attorneys can challenge these injustices and seek compensation for the harm they have caused.


For more information on defending against hate crime charges and civil rights violations in Brooklyn, check out the following resources:

Defending against hate crime allegations and civil rights violations requires experienced legal representation. Reach out to a qualified Brooklyn defense lawyer if you are facing these types of charges.