Federal Hate Crime Charges and Penalties

 Posted on October 13, 2023 in Hate Crime Statute

IL defense lawyerIn defining a hate crime, the term “hate” refers to a bias against a group of people with similar defining characteristics. 

In a recent year, there were a reported 7,200 incidents of hate crimes. Hate crimes can include a number of acts, from physically assaulting someone because of their ethnicity, setting a group home for people with disabilities on fire, or vandalizing a place of worship. 

If you have been charged with a hate crime, you need to speak with a Chicago criminal defense attorney who can represent your interests.

What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is often a violent crime, such as vandalism, assault, murder, arson, or any threat to commit such crimes. A federal hate crime is a prejudice-motivated act that is based upon certain actual or perceived characteristics of the victim. 

The motivation for the majority of hate crimes was based on race or ethnicity, accounting for 64.8% of the hate crimes in 2021. Sexual orientation accounted for 15.6%, and religion accounted for 13.3% of all reported crimes.

Federal Hate Crime Acts 

A hate crime offense can be against another person, property, or society. According to 18 U.S. Code § 249, hate crime acts involve causing bodily injury or attempting to cause bodily injury to any person using a firearm or other weapon due to their:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Gender or gender identity
  • Sexual orientation

Penalties for Federal Hate Crimes

A federal hate crime is usually a Class 4 felony for the first conviction, with a second conviction being a Class 2 felony. However, if a hate crime was committed in a church, religious facility, cemetery, public park, or ethnic or religious community center, the accused may be convicted of a Class 3 felony. 

If a person is found guilty of committing a federal hate crime, then that person may face a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or fined up to $250,000. 

However, aggravating factors, like if someone died, or if someone was kidnapped, or there was aggravated sexual abuse, or there was an attempt to kidnap, commit aggravated sexual abuse, or kill, then the offender may serve any number of years in jail, with the possibility of a life sentence.

If you have been charged with a federal hate crime, do not hesitate to call our office. Our Chicago federal defense attorney has been representing clients charged with hate crimes in federal courts for over 20 years. He knows what it takes to preserve a person’s reputation in the midst of such allegations.

A Chicago, IL Federal Hate Crimes Attorney Offering Aggressive Representation

If you have been accused of a federal hate crime, you need a Chicago, IL, federal defense attorney who can defend your rights and your public reputation. Our office is just a call at 312-629-0669 or click away. Contact Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today to schedule your free consultation and find out how he can be of assistance to you.

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