What Are the Penalties for a Federal Hate Crime?

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Illinois federal crime defense lawyerIn light of events that have taken place across the country in recent years, you may have heard of various hate crimes taking place against many different individuals. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were more than 7,300 incidents of hate crime that took place across the country in 2019, the latest year for which the FBI has data. Hate crimes are often punished on the state level, but many people do not realize that they can be prosecuted on the federal level, as well. Various federal statutes have been put into place to help protect the rights of certain individuals.

Bias in Hate Crimes

According to the FBI, a crime is not a hate crime unless there is a bias that compelled a person to commit the crime. Hate crimes are usually traditional destructive or violent crimes, such as assault and battery or arson, that are committed toward a person specifically due to their real or perceived race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, or disability.

FBI statistics show that the most common hate crimes occur in the U.S. toward individuals because of their race or religion. An overwhelming majority of more than 57 percent of hate crime incidents in 2019 were perpetrated against individuals because of their race, ethnicity, color, or origin. Most of those hate crimes—a little less than half—were motivated by anti-Black or African-American biases. The second-most reported bias for hate crimes is religion, specifically anti-Jewish or anti-Islamic biases.

A Recent Federal Hate Crime Conviction

Recently, a Montana man was indicted on federal hate crime charges after he allegedly threatened a victim with homophobic slurs and shot his firearm into the victim’s home. The indictment states that the man is accused of attempting to murder the victim because of his sexual orientation, a violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This violation could carry a sentence of up to life in prison because of the threat on a person’s life because of their sexual orientation. Because he used a firearm, he could also face a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Contact Our Chicago, IL Federal Hate Crime Defense Attorney

Many people do not realize that hate crimes can be charged as both a state and a federal offense. If you are facing federal charges for a hate crime, you should speak to a knowledgeable Chicago, IL federal hate crime defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we will examine the facts of your case and help you build a strong defense against any hate crime charges you may be facing. To schedule a free consultation to begin discussing your case, contact our office today at 312-629-0669.



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