If you throw a drink at someone, that is battery. If you throw a drink at someone after calling them a ‘ho’ and demanding that they take their Star of David necklace off, then it is a hate crime. Such is the circumstance of a 30-year-old woman who was offended by the Jewish iconography worn by the bartender. She is now facing enhanced charges of battery evincing evidence of prejudice.
The woman went off on a tirade concerning Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When the bartender recognized she was Palestinian, she told the woman that she did not mean to upset her. The woman was not consoled. She informed the bartender that she “hated Jews” and then threw her drink at the bartender, striking her in the collarbone.
The woman was later identified via surveillance footage. She turned herself in before a warrant could be issued. The woman was released on her own recognizance and ordered not to drink or take drugs while her case is pending.
What Will Happen?
Hate crimes are charged separately in Illinois. In some states, a hate crime acts as an aggravating factor which can escalate punishments. In Illinois, hate crimes are considered separate offenses. So the woman will be charged with both battery (or aggravated battery) and a hate crime charge.
Hate crimes are considered class-4 felonies. If convicted, the sentence would fall somewhere within one to three years. Simple battery is considered a misdemeanor, but if the bartender had broken her collarbone or her face was scarred, then the battery charge makes a massive jump from a misdemeanor to a class-3 felony where the sentencing range is five to 10 years.
In this case, it appears that the bartender was not seriously injured, so the woman would have only faced a misdemeanor charge which she could have paid off with probation and a fine. However, since she yelled at the woman for being a Jew, she will face a class-4 felony plus the misdemeanor battery charge.
Class-4 felonies have mandatory minimum sentences of one year in prison. So, if the woman is convicted of the charge, she will be in prison for the next year. Since she works as a pharmacist, she could lose her medical license. She takes care of her father, which means she will not be able to do that any longer. She will need to figure out some way to get the hate crime charges tossed. This will be difficult. Illinois allows hate crime prosecutions to proceed regardless of other factors. So being drunk and out of control is not a defense since she evinced evidence of hatred while committing a battery. Her entire life could be destroyed because she was offended by a religious symbol and could not control her temper — her father’s life too.
Talk to Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg represents the interests of those who have been charged with serious crimes in Cook County. Call today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin discussing defense strategy immediately.