Hate crimes are criminal acts committed against individuals or groups because of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics. A new report reveals that Illinois is seeing a significant increase in the number of antisemitic acts, hate crimes, and white supremacist activities. Under Illinois law, hate crimes are treated with the utmost severity to combat prejudice and discrimination, and being charged with a hate crime is a serious legal matter that carries significant consequences if convicted. If you have been charged with a hate crime, it is imperative to contact an Illinois criminal defense lawyer right away.
Hate in the Prairie State
The report, Hate in the Prairie State, was compiled by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and reveals that Illinois has had an 80 percent increase in attacks, hate speech, and extremism over the past two years. Incidents of antisemitism increased 128 percent in 2022 from the previous year. The number of white supremacist propaganda incidents increased 111 percent during that same time period. In the past two years, the ADL has documented four white supremacist extremist events, including protests and marches.
Some of the incidents cited in the report include:
The firebombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Peoria in January.
Anti-LGBTQ vandalism at a bakery in Lake in the Hills in 2022.
The suspension of a Chicago police officer in 2021 because of alleged ties to the hate group the Proud Boys.
How Illinois Criminal Justice System Handles Hate Crimes
Illinois has specific hate crime laws that enhance penalties for criminal offenses when they are committed with a hate-motivated intent. This means that if an act of violence, vandalism, or harassment is committed against someone due to their perceived characteristics, the penalties can be more severe than for the same crime without a hate-motivated aspect. The state recognizes the harm hate crimes inflict on both victims and the community at large and aims to deter and punish these behaviors.
When charged with a hate crime in Illinois, individuals may face not only the underlying criminal charges, such as assault, battery, vandalism, or intimidation, but also additional penalties related to the hate crime classification. These penalties can include extended prison sentences and increased fines. The severity of these additional penalties depends on the nature and severity of the underlying offense.
Facing hate crime charges can also have significant social and personal consequences. It can lead to damage to one’s reputation, loss of employment or educational opportunities, strained personal relationships, and emotional distress. Hate crimes not only harm individuals directly targeted but also create fear and division within communities.
Contact a Will County Defense Lawyer for Legal Assistance
Being charged with a hate crime in Illinois carries significant legal ramifications, as well as potential social and personal ramifications. Anyone facing hate crime charges should speak with a Naperville, IL criminal attorney promptly to ensure their rights are protected and to address the consequences they may face. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] to schedule a free consultation and find out how our law firm can help.