Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 12: Miscellaneous Offenses

Often depicted in films, the image of cross burning is iconic and notorious for any American. Under this section of Illinois law, a person is prohibited from burning a cross in order to intimidate another person or group. For a first offense, a conviction carries a Class A misdemeanor status.

Next, this portion of the Criminal Code discusses another type of intimidation. Illinois law deems threatening a public official a more serious crime than intimidating just any regular person. If a person communicates a threat toward a public official because of the performance of that individual, he or she can be charged with threatening a public official. This crime carries Class 3 felony status upon first offense.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been charged with this crime in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 12 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Sec. 12-7.6. Cross burning.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-7.6)

(a) A person commits the offense of cross burning who, with the intent to intimidate any other person or group of persons, burns or causes to be burned a cross.

(b) Sentence. Cross burning is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense.

(c) For the purposes of this Section, a person acts with the "intent to intimidate" when he or she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in fear of physical injury or fear of damage to that other person's property. (Source: P.A. 93-764, eff. 1-1-05.)

Sec. 12-8. (Repealed).
    (720 ILCS 5/12-8)

(Source: P.A. 77-2638. Repealed by P.A. 89-657, eff. 8-14-96.)

Sec. 12-9. Threatening public officials.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-9)

(a) A person commits the offense of threatening a public official when:

(1) that person knowingly and willfully delivers or conveys, directly or indirectly, to a public official by any means a communication:

(i) containing a threat that would place the public official or a member of his or her immediate family in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint; or

(ii) containing a threat that would place the public official or a member of his or her immediate family in reasonable apprehension that damage will occur to property in the custody, care, or control of the public official or his or her immediate family; and

(2) the threat was conveyed because of the performance or nonperformance of some public duty, because of hostility of the person making the threat toward the status or position of the public official, or because of any other factor related to the official's public existence.

(a-5) For purposes of a threat to a sworn law enforcement officer, the threat must contain specific facts indicative of a unique threat to the person, family or property of the officer and not a generalized threat of harm.

(b) For purposes of this Section:

(1) "Public official" means a person who is elected to office in accordance with a statute or who is appointed to an office which is established, and the qualifications and duties of which are prescribed, by statute, to discharge a public duty for the State or any of its political subdivisions or in the case of an elective office any person who has filed the required documents for nomination or election to such office. "Public official" includes a duly appointed assistant State's Attorney and a sworn law enforcement or peace officer.

(2) "Immediate family" means a public official's spouse or child or children.

(c) Threatening a public official is a Class 3 felony for a first offense and a Class 2 felony for a second or subsequent offense. (Source: P.A. 95-466, eff. 6-1-08.)

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DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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