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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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