There were 5,479 hate crimes reported in the U.S. in 2014.

USAttorneys discusses hate crimes in Illinois

Chicago, IL- Nationwide hate crimes are on the rise a November report from the FBI showed. The agency discovered a 7 percent increase in hate crimes in 2014, over the previous year, but Illinois is defying that trend. Instead of an increase in hate crimes, there has been a decline in these crimes for the Prairie State. Even so, some individuals face hate crime charges. Our team of criminal defense lawyers in Illinois will discuss some facts about hate crimes here.

On November 16, 2016, the FBI released statistics for hate crimes in the U.S. The agency found that there were 5,479 hate crimes in 2014. That’s a slight decline from 2013 when 5,928 crimes were reported.

Other facts from the FBI report:

47 percent of hate crimes were racially motivated

18.6 percent of hate crimes targeted people by their sexual orientation

18.6 percent of hate crimes were religiously motivated

Hate crimes against Muslims increased 67 percent in 2014

A conviction for a hate crime carries severe penalties including years behind bars.

What is a hate crime?

Illinois criminal statutes define a hate crime as an assault, battery or other violent act directed at the victim because of their “race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin of another individual or group…” Hate crimes can include harassing a person via the phone or online, vandalism and other property crimes.

Are hate crimes felonies?

A hate crime is Class 4 felony if it is the first offense. A second or subsequent hate crime charge is considered a Class 2 felony.

According to Illinois criminal law, a hate crime is considered a Class 3 felony if it occurs within 1,000 feet for a school, public park, place of worship or cemetery.

What are the penalties for a hate crime?

In Illinois, a conviction for a Class 2 felony carries a possible jail sentence of three to seven years. If a hate crime enhancement is added, some individuals face seven to 14 years in prison. Additionally, an offender must serve 200 hours of community service and pay their victims restitution. The defendant could also be ordered to attend hate crime deterrent classes. On top of the criminal penalties, a hate crime conviction can affect a person’s personal life and cause issues down the road.

Hate crimes are taken very seriously and have severe consequences. If you are convicted, the penalties will have a far-reaching impact. Any person facing charges for a hate crime should speak with an attorney as soon as they are able. If you live in Chicago, Illinois, we recommend you contact criminal defense attorney James Murphy-Aguill at (773) 234-0670 to discuss your defense. It is unwise to try and handle your charges alone; you need a legal expert on your side. We recommend you call defense attorney James Murphy-Aguill and set up a consultation.

You need a defense lawyer working on your case if you are charged with a hate crime.