Experienced Federal Defense Attorneys in Raleigh Fighting for You
If you have been accused of criminally violating someone’s civil rights or committing a hate crime against a protected group of people, contact our federal criminal defense attorneys in Raleigh. At Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, we are dedicated to advocating for our clients, fighting on their behalf, and helping them achieve fair and just outcomes.
Our federal defense attorneys are here when you need us. Call (919) 887-8040 to speak to a lawyer 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
Understanding Federal Criminal Civil Rights
Federal criminal civil rights laws are designed to protect federal rights, privileges, and immunities that are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or federal law. The U.S. Department of Justice enforces multiple statutes related to criminal civil rights violations.
Civil Rights Conspiracy
Civil rights conspiracy charges are specifically outlined in Section 241: Conspiracy Against Rights, which makes it illegal for two or more people to agree and plan to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person who is exercising or enjoying a Constitutional or legal right or privilege.
Law Enforcement Misconduct
Civil rights violations involving the misconduct of law enforcement is outlined in Section 242: Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law. This provision makes it unlawful for someone acting as a representative of the law, such as a police officer, prison guard, or district attorney, to deprive someone of rights or privileges protected by the Constitution or United States law, such as depriving someone serving a prison sentence medical treatment.
Racial bias or other type of prejudice or animus is not necessary nor is any one type of abusive behavior criminalized. Instead, it references rights laid out by the Constitution, federal statutes, and legal precedent. Violating this statute is a misdemeanor, unless there are aggravating factors involved, such as using a dangerous weapon or sexual abuse, in which case the penalties are based on those factors.
Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances
Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) makes it unlawful for someone to use physical force, physical obstruction, or intimidation to stop someone from receiving or providing reproductive health services (including abortion or alternative counseling) or exercising their right of religious freedom at a place of worship. This also makes it unlawful for an individual to damage, deface, or destroy the property of a reproductive health provider or place of worship.
A conviction of FACE, when it’s the first offense without aggravating factors such as bodily injury, is a misdemeanor punishable by six months in prison for nonviolent obstruction and up to a year for threatening behavior or force.
Peonage, Slavery, and Trafficking in Persons
There are numerous statutes in place related to issues of peonage, slavery, and human trafficking. These include making it unlawful to force people to work or provide services, providing a means for someone to engage in a commercial sex act with a minor, or forcing someone to work off a debt against their will.
- Section 1589: Forced Labor
- Section 1590: Trafficking with Respect to Peonage, Slavery, Involuntary Servitude, or Forced Labor
- Section 1591: Sex Trafficking of Children or by Force, Fraud, or Coercion
- Section 1581: Peonage
- Section 1584: Involuntary Servitude
- Section 1592: Unlawful Conduct with Respect to Documents
- Section 1593: Mandatory Restitution
- Section 1594: Attempts, Conspiracy, and Forfeiture
Federal Hate Crimes Laws
Hate crimes are bias-motivated and committed against a victim or a group due to specific, legally defined characteristics, including:
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender or gender identity
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act prohibits causing bodily injury to someone or attempting to cause bodily injury to someone using a dangerous weapon based on the above listed characteristics. A conviction of this crime is punishable by 10 years imprisonment, though if aggravating factors are involved, such as death of the victim, kidnapping, or sexual abuse, the sentence may extend to life imprisonment.
It’s important to note that the U.S. Department of Justice can only prosecute this crime when the Attorney General or a designated representative has a written certification that includes:
- The state has requested the Department of Justice to take over jurisdiction;
- The state does not have jurisdiction;
- The verdict or sentence in the state’s case left the “federal interest demonstrably unvindicated;”
- Prosecuting this case is in the public interest and essential to achieving justice.
Why You Need a Federal Defense Attorney for Civil Rights Violations
If you are under investigation, accused, or charged with criminal civil rights violations, you need experienced representation from a federal criminal defense attorney. The FBI and Department of Justice have limitless resources to gain a conviction and the penalties associated with civil rights violations are severe.
Having a federal criminal defense attorney on your side is key to achieving a more favorable outcome. At Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, we have over 60 years of combined legal experience as both prosecutors and defense attorneys. This gives us the skills and knowledge necessary to provide a powerful defense strategy and go head-to-head with the Department of Justice. We represent clients in the Eastern District of North Carolina, including the cities of Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Greenville as well as Robeson County.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Federal Defense Attorneys in Raleigh
Federal charges of hate crimes and civil rights violations can’t be taken lightly. You need a capable, experienced, and dedicated attorney to advocate for your rights and fight for your best interests. To speak with a lawyer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, reach out to us today at (919) 887-8040 or fill out the form below to learn more.