Each year, the FBI puts together a report on crime statistics and one of their reports focuses on hate crimes in the United States. In 2106, the FBI reported that there were 6,121 hate crime incidents that took place in the U.S., with over half of those incidents stemming from racial or ethnic bias. About half of all racially or ethnically based hate crimes were those that were anti-black or African American. The prevalence of hate crimes has risen by a significant amount in the past few years and recently, a Chicago man was arrested on charges of drawing swastikas on buildings.
Chicago Man Charged with Felony Hate Crimes
A 51-year-old man has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of hate crimes after the man is alleged to have drawn swastikas on multiple homes on the North Side. The man is being charged with two felony counts of hate crimes, along with three misdemeanor counts of criminal defacing of property. Chicago police say that the man was identified on home security video footage showing him using chalk to draw swastikas on garages and fences.
Illinois Hate Crime Laws
In Illinois, a hate crime is defined as any crime that is committed due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of another person or a group of people. Hate crimes can include assault, battery, stalking, intimidation, theft, damage to property, trespassing, and others. A hate crime is a Class 4 felony for a first offense and a Class 2 felony for a second offense. A first-offense hate crime can be classified as a Class 3 felony if it is committed on the grounds of a religious institution, a cemetery, a school, a public park or any public property within 1,000 feet of any aforesaid locations.
Consequences of first-offense hate crimes in Illinois can be one to three years in prison, up to 30 months of probation, up to $25,000 in fines and/or restitution to the victim. Illinois also specifies that any order of probation or conditional discharge must include a stipulation that the offender perform at least 200 hours of community service and enroll in an educational program about the protected class that the hate crime was geared toward. The victim of the hate crime may also bring about a civil lawsuit against the offender.
Are You Facing Charges for a Hate Crime?
Because of the seriousness of hate crimes, punishments for them can be pretty stiff. An experienced Chicago defense lawyer can help you fight to keep your name clear and you innocent. The main goal of the Luisi Legal Group is to avoid a conviction at all costs. If you are facing charges for a hate crime, contact our office right away at [[phone]].