The Charlottesville incident in August of 2017 is one instance of hate crime that brought about great destruction. It caused the death of a paralegal and two of the state troopers and the injury of several others. Racist undertones formed the root cause of the Charlottesville violence, and it is not an isolated incident.
The incidence of hate crime seems to be on the rise in the past few years, especially in the wake of the 2016 election results. Based on Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) statistics, the rate of hate crimes rose to an all-time high in 2016. Racial discrimination is a common reason behind the crimes, and this includes crimes against Jewish and Muslim people. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), there has been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the country, including vandalism, harassment, and assaults.
Laws to Help Hate Crime Victims
Hate crimes have to be dealt with carefully as the victims are often left in vulnerable, isolated, and fearful states. This applies to the family and community members of the victims, too. New laws passed regarding cyberstalking seek to address this particular issue. One law includes cyber-stalking and obscene message sharing via electronic media under the hate crime list. Another law includes the removal of limits on the restitution ordered for the hate crimes in case of damage to a religious location or worshipping place. Lisa Madigan, attorney general of Illinois, is instrumental in bringing this law into force.
The law has offenders take part in counseling sessions that help discourage acts like these. The law requires an offender to perform community service for a minimum of 200 hours.
What Causes Hate Crimes
Hate crimes happen when the victim of the crime is chosen intentionally. The selection of the victim is based on the identity of the victim. This includes the sexual orientation, religious belief, race, national origin, creed, disability, or other identity-related reasons.
With the new hate crime law passed by Illinois legislature, it is possible for hate crime victims to report an incident and get legal help. Offenders are sure to attract civil penalties under the new laws. The crimes carry severe penalties due to the hate factor. This elevates the crimes, which are normally seen as misdemeanors, to serious felonies.
Damages You Incur for a Hate Crime
Besides attracting a criminal penalty, a civil action may be filed against you for punitive and actual damages caused. This includes the legal costs and fees. Payment for the victim’s medical expenses in case of injury is also included. If the offender is a minor, the legal guardians or parents hold responsibility for the damages caused. Besides this, there is the possibility of prison time if one is convicted of a hate crime.
It is clear that Illinois considers hate crime as a serious offense. The offense alone is sufficient for a legal suit irrespective of the defendant being convicted for the crime. Furthermore, the offender has to contend with the terrible social stigma attached to persons accused of hate crimes.
As an offender, you face severe charges identical to other similar violent crimes. In addition, you also face the accrued penalties in the form of restitution. The restitution is to prevent any attempt at further perpetration.
In some cases, you may also be wrongly accused of a hate crime when the motivation for the crime remains unrelated to hate. Charges of hate can, however, turn a crime into a serious felony. So, if you are accused of committing a hate crime or wrongfully accused of the crime, it is safest to seek legal counsel.
Never face hate crime charges alone. A reputed attorney can prove to be your only lifeline. For trusted and expert legal advice, contact David Freidberg Attorney at Law at 312-560-7100.
(image courtesy of Hajran Pambudi)