Chicago Hate Crimes Attorney

Cook County federal hate crime defense lawyer

Lawyer for State and Federal Hate Crime Charges Located in Chicago, IL

Of the many different types of offenses that a person can be charged with, hate crimes are among the most serious. A person may face these types of charges if they are accused of harming someone else based on that person's race, religion, sexual orientation, or another protected status. In some cases, accusations of hate crimes may result in federal charges, and a person may not only face a lengthy prison sentence and other consequences, but their reputation and personal relationships may be permanently damaged.

Because of the serious nature of hate crimes, it is crucial to obtain representation from an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. Attorney Hal Garfinkel has been representing clients in state and federal courts for more than 20 years, and he has handled many high-profile cases in which people have had to defend their public reputation while also fighting against criminal charges. He can help you determine the best approach to successfully defend against hate crime accusations.

Illinois Hate Crime Laws

Illinois law defines "hate crime" as an offense committed against someone because of their actual or perceived race, ancestry, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability. Criminal offenses that could result in hate crime charges include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Stalking, harassment, and intimidation
  • Theft
  • Trespassing
  • Criminal damage to property
  • Mob action
  • Disorderly conduct

In most cases, a hate crime is a Class 4 felony for a first offense. However, if a hate crime was allegedly committed in a church, mosque, religious facility, cemetery, public park, or ethnic or religious community center, a person may be charged with a Class 3 felony for a first offense. A second hate crime conviction is a Class 2 felony.

Federal Hate Crime Charges

A person may face hate crime charges at the federal level if they purposely cause bodily injury to someone or attempt to injure someone using a firearm or other dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, and their actions were based on the alleged victim's actual or perceived race, religion, or national origin. A person may also face federal charges if they allegedly committed a hate crime based on a person's religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability, and the offense involved travel across state lines or international borders by either the defendant or the alleged victim.

A conviction for federal hate crimes can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. However, if an offense resulted in someone's death or involved actual or attempted kidnapping or aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to kill, a person may be sentenced to more than 10 years, up to life in prison.

Other federal charges that may be related to hate crimes include:

  • Interference with housing rights- This involves intimidating or interfering with a person's ability to buy, sell, rent, or occupy a dwelling based on their race, religion, gender, disability, or familial status. A conviction of this offense can result in up to one year in prison.
  • Damage to religious property- This offense involves intentionally damaging, defacing, or destroying a church, mosque, synagogue, cemetery, or other religious property. A conviction can be punished up to one year in prison, or up to three years in cases involving property damage of more than $5,000. If a person's actions allegedly resulted in someone's bodily injury, they may face up to 20 years in prison. If a person was injured because of a fire or explosion, a conviction may result in a prison sentence of up to 40 years. If a person was killed, an offender may face up to life in prison, or they may be sentenced to death.

Contact Our Chicago Hate Crimes Lawyer

If you have been accused of committing a hate crime, Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel can provide the legal help you need. He will fight to protect your rights and your reputation while building a defense strategy that will help you avoid a conviction in state or federal courts. Contact us at 312-629-0669 to set up your free consultation today.

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