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Will County criminal lawyer for hate crime chargesThere has been much focus in the media and by law enforcement over the past few months about hate crimes directed against Asian Americans. Much of this violence against victims has been in response to the COVID-19 pandemic triggered by the false narrative put out by politicians and organizations that blame the creation of the virus and its global spread on China. One study has estimated that almost 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents have occurred within the past year in the U.S., with the majority of these incidents – almost 70 percent – directed at female victims.   

Hate Crime Statistics

According to data compiled by Statista Research Department, there were 838 active hate groups in the United States country in 2020. At least 19 of those groups make their home right here in Illinois. A hate group is defined as any group that has beliefs or practices that malign or attack an entire class of people based on their race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, disability, color, sexual orientation, and more. Hate groups often engage in certain activities that help promote their hate, including meetings, rallies, speeches, publishing, and criminal acts.

Hate Crime Laws

Both the federal government and the state of Illinois have laws against hate crimes. In Illinois, the specific law against hate crimes is addressed in 720 ILCS 5/12-71. The statute lists a variety of criminal acts that can be charged as a hate crime, including:

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Joliet, IL personal injury lawsuit lawyerSenate Bill 72 is on its way to the governor’s desk for his signature after recently passing both the Illinois House and Senate. The new law will allow for plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits to collect interest on the amount awarded in a jury verdict. The goal of the law is to encourage the parties involved in these lawsuits – especially the defendants – to negotiate a fair settlement and avoid bringing the case to trial.

In the majority of personal injury lawsuits, the defendant (at-fault party) is represented by an insurance company that covers the expenses of defending the lawsuit. For example, the at-fault driver in a car accident is usually represented by their auto insurance company. Another example is a doctor or hospital in a medical malpractice lawsuit that is legally represented by the company that issued their malpractice insurance policy.

The victims in these lawsuits may not have the same advantage, and they often face financial hardships while they wait for their case to reach a conclusion.

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Joliet criminal defense attorneySpringtime marks the start of warmer weather and sunshine in many parts of the country. It also means spring break for students and time off of school. Considered a well-deserved reprieve from lectures, midterms, and homework, some students may go home to see their family and friends. College students also often make plans to travel to warmer destinations or even big cities like Chicago for a week of fun. While most young adults had to put off their spring trips last year due to COVID-19 lockdowns, many are looking forward to letting loose on spring break this year. However, there are many actions that can result in criminal charges if they are not careful.  

Actions that Can Lead to Trouble

Without parental supervision or school administrators around, it is not uncommon for college students to party while on spring break, which may include dancing, drinking, and even doing drugs. However, even those 21 and over can do things that are illegal. Unfortunately, this illicit behavior may lead to unintentionally injuring themselves or harming others. For example, driving a car, motorcycle, or electric scooter after consuming too much alcohol can cause an accident with serious to life-threatening injuries. 

Controlled substances hinder a person’s ability to think clearly and make sound decisions even when not operating a vehicle. Being impaired can cause someone to be uninhibited and act in ways they normally would not when sober. What may seem like a harmless act of taking something small off a store shelf or from another person’s bag may lead to theft charges. Exposing their private parts or making lewd comments in public can all lead to an arrest. Forcing another individual to do something sexual without their consent is also illegal. 

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Joliet criminal defense lawyerThe topic of hate crimes has been in the news more and more over the past few years. In efforts to increase awareness about these types of crimes, police officers and government officials have focused more attention on hate crimes. Time, energy, and resources have been put into thoroughly investigating hate crimes, and legislation has enhanced the penalties for them. In Illinois, those who commit hate crimes are often charged with a felony offense and punished to the fullest extent of the law. To avoid being charged with a hate crime, it is important to understand what actions constitute them and also the criminal punishments if convicted of one.   

Violent Acts Committed Against Others

A hate crime occurs when a person commits a crime against another person or group because of their perceived race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability. Typically, the acts committed against individuals in a hate crime are violent in nature and can include such offenses as:

  • Assault 

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Joliet truck accident attorneySince they transport goods and supplies such as food, truck drivers are considered essential workers and have been working throughout the past year despite COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns. In many cases, truckers have been working hard to deliver critical PPE or medical supplies to hospitals overwhelmed by the number of coronavirus patients. With increased pressure to deliver products in a timely manner, delivery drivers and trucking companies in general may not be adhering to protocol in regards to their hours of service. Failure to follow rules for driving can lead to tired drivers who then cause truck accidents.     

FMCSA Safety Act

Commercial truck drivers in Illinois must have a special license to operate such large vehicles. Individuals who are 18 or older can obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) after successfully passing written and driving skills tests. In addition, drivers must already have a valid Illinois driver’s license and pay a fee for the CDL. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration Safety Act (FMCSA) established specific safety guidelines for truck drivers to ensure that they get adequate rest and do not drive for too many consecutive hours. Here are a few of the Hours of Service (HOS) guidelines for a CMV driver:

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