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IL defense lawyerEach year, the FBI collects important data on hate crimes that occur around the country in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Last week, the FBI released the 2019 hate crime statistics, the most recent hate crime data available for the U.S. According to that data, there were 65 hate crimes that were reported to have taken place in the state of Illinois in 2019. In recent years, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies across the country have put more money and resources into the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes, which has led to a big push to protect people of certain classes across the country. As a result, law enforcement and prosecutors often punish offenders to the fullest extent of the law. However, the consequences for committing a hate crime in Illinois can be serious.

What Is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime occurs when a person commits some type of crime against another person because of that person’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or physical or mental disability. Typically, hate crimes are violent in nature, but they can also consist of crimes against the victim’s property. Examples of hate crime in Illinois can include:

  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Intimidation
  • Cyberstalking
  • Trespassing
  • Damage to property
  • Disorderly conduct

What Are the Consequences of a Hate Crime Conviction?

The consequences of a hate crime conviction in Illinois depend on the circumstances surrounding the case. In most cases, a first offense is charged as a Class 4 felony, while a second or subsequent offense is charged as a Class 2 felony. Under certain circumstances, such as if the crime was committed in a school or church, a first offense can be charged as a Class 3 felony. All felony charges in Illinois carry the possibility of up to $25,000 in fines and years of prison time. If you are found guilty of a hate crime, the judge has the option to either order restitution paid to the victim or impose a fine based on the severity of the crime.

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Arlington Heights, IL hate crimes defense attorney

In the past couple of years, hate crimes have become more prevalent and widely reported in the United States, especially in Illinois. According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the country as a whole saw a slight drop in the number of hate crimes committed in 2018. Illinois, however, saw a 32 percent increase in hate crimes. A majority of these hate crimes were influenced by the race and sexual orientation of the victims, while religion-based hate crimes saw a slight decrease. Across the United States, nearly half of the 7,120 hate crimes were perpetrated against African Americans. One recent incident in DuPage County involved a race-based hate crime perpetrated by a teenager.

Teen Places Ad on Craigslist for Black Classmate

A Naperville teenager has been charged with a hate crime after he posted an inappropriate ad on Craigslist offering a fellow classmate up for sale. According to investigating officials, the ad, which has since been taken down, bore the title, “Slave for sale” and was followed by a racial slur and also included a photo of a black classmate. Officials announced Wednesday that the 14-year-old boy faced two counts of a hate crime and one count of disorderly conduct for the incident. The school district also took action and punished the boy with two days of suspension, which the victim’s mother chastised as being too lenient. 

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