Cyberstalking Is Now a Hate Crime in Illinois

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerCyberstalking has been an ongoing issue for many years. With the evolution of the Internet and overall technology, there have been easier ways to target specific social groups using media. In January 2018, cyberstalking has become a hate crime, which may lead to serious consequences if an individual is caught cyberstalking and targeting certain groups.

What Is Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is defined as when a person uses electronic communication, such as email, text messages, and social media, to direct a specific person or target group, causing the target to fear for safety or suffer from emotional distress. Cyberstalking could also be defined as when a person uses electronic communication to cause a threat of potential bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint of threat. Cyberstalking often causes enough emotional trauma that would allow for the person on the receiving end to fear for his or her safety.

Why Is Cyberstalking Now Considered a Hate Crime?

Cyberstalking is often intended to target a specific group. The state of Illinois decided to add cyberstalking to the list of hate crimes because, since the past year, there has been a massive increase crimes brought out by religion, race, national origin, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Other crimes added to the hate crime list include transmission of obscene messages and certain acts of intimidation. With the new law in effect, individuals affected by the hate crime may now have the ability to file a civil suit in response to the incidents, and the judge is now allowed to place civil penalties on the offender.

Hate crimes are not necessarily about “hate” as much as these types of crimes are about the offender discriminating against a certain individual or group. The offender selects a person or group for a reason of race, religion, gender, ancestry, sexual orientation, disability, and national origin, to name a few reasons. Social media and technology have had a major impact on society, and individuals can now easily access media to use derogatory words toward a specific person or group.

Call a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

Cyberstalking is a very serious crime, which may lead to unwanted consequences, to both the person affected and the person committing the crime. If you have been charged with cyberstalking, it is important to seek legal assistance. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, you will be guaranteed professional and effective legal representation. For a free initial consultation, please call a Chicago cyberstalking defense lawyer at 312-270-0999 to discuss your case.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/01/05/what-makes-a-crime-a-hate-crime-and-would-the-chicago-attack-qualify/?utm_term=.0b4e00637292

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/new-hate-crime-law-pushed-by-ag-madigan-goes-into-effect-in-illinois/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050k12-7.5.htm

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