Hate crimes are crimes committed against a person who is targeted for a specific reason. This can be due to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other factors. If you have been arrested for this type of crime, it is essential that you understand what the prosecution has to prove for you to be found guilty.
You may also want to know what type of sentence you could be facing if found guilty. Remember, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help eliminate or reduce these sentences.
Hate Crimes and Assault
Most hate crimes are associated with assault or battery charges. An example of this type of charge comes from a recent arrest of two men who assaulted a woman. In July 2018, two men punched and stabbed a female family member. Her boyfriend was also assaulted, but to a lesser degree. This assault apparently occurred because she was dating a Muslim man.
Police were able to deduce this information because of witness accounts of a dispute that occurred right before the attack. A witness heard the attacker say that the woman should not be dating a Muslim.
Bail for the man who stabbed the woman was set at $15,000, while bail for the man who assaulted her with his hands was set at $10,000. This shows an important factor to consider in your case. Generally, assaults that involve a weapon come with increased felony charges and sentences.
This case also showcases one of the hoops the prosecution will have to jump through to find you guilty. They have to prove intent. If they cannot show that you targeted the person for a specific reason, then the charge may be reduced.
Hate Crimes and Social Media
With the rising popularity of social media, many hate crimes are now being broadcast on Facebook or YouTube. In these cases, it can be very difficult to receive a not guilty verdict as the video evidence is almost impossible to dispute. However, these cases are not hopeless. A criminal defense lawyer can work to reduce your charge or sentence.
The severity of punishment that comes with these crimes being broadcast can be seen in a recent case. In 2017, four people were charged with a hate crime against a mentally disabled teen. Those who participated in the assault live-streamed it on Facebook. The video is very graphic and shows them taunting and physically attacking the teen.
Due to the severity of their crime, as well as the fact that they broadcasted it on social media, each of the four participants has received harsh sentencing. They were all charged with 50 felony accounts.
One of the boys that admitted to requesting ransom for the victim was sentenced to eight years in prison. The final defendant was convicted in July 2018 and sentenced to seven years in prison.
According to Illinois law, a hate crime is a class 4 felony for a first-time offender and a class 2 felony for a second-time offender. However, there is an exception to the rule. If the crime was committed at a specific location, such as a church, then the charge is greater. It becomes a class 3 felony for first-time offenders and a class 2 for subsequent offenses.
A person convicted of a hate crime may also have to pay restitution to the victim or a fine of up to $1,000. The victim may also file a civil suit for medical bills and pain and suffering against a convicted assailant. Being found guilty of this type of crime can cause you to lose your job and those you love.
If you have been arrested for this crime or a similar one, do not hesitate to contact us. David Freidberg, Attorney at Law, is here to provide you with legal advice you can trust. Call us at 312-560-7100 for a free consultation today.
(image courtesy of Fabian Grohs)