Chicago Firearm Charges

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The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The 2nd Amendment's application is expanding in Illinois; however, gun owners, dealers, and collectors must still comply with state and federal laws that regulate these weapons. Illinois' gun laws are listed under 720 ILCS 5/24-1 through 720 ILCS 5/24-3. For example, Illinois requires prospective gun owners to complete a background check and wait at least three days before purchasing a gun. Illinois also completely prohibits some items, including fully-automatic machine guns, armor-piercing bullets, and silencers.

If you or a loved one is charged with a firearms offense, call Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Hallock to discuss your legal options!

FOID: Firearm Owner's Identification Card

In Illinois, you need a FOID card to lawfully purchase and possess a firearm. It is a Class A misdemeanor to possess a gun without a FOID card, assuming you were eligible to obtain a FOID card. A subsequent arrest for this crime becomes a Class 4 felony under 430 ILCS 65/14(b), assuming you still are eligible for a FOID card.

However, it is a Class 3 felony to possess a firearm without a FOID card if you were ineligible to obtain a FOID card at the time of your arrest. A third or subsequent arrest for this crime becomes a Class 1 felony under 430 ILCS 65/14(c).

Unlawful Use of a Weapon Charges

You can be charged with unlawful use of a weapon (UUW) under 720 ILCS 5/24-1 even if you did not "use" the weapon in the normal sense of the word. In Illinois, merely possessing the weapon is considered using it. The crime of UUW applies to a variety of items, including knives, batons, tasers, and brass knuckles. However, most charges for UUW involve firearms and include the following:

Unlawful Use of a Weapon (UUW):

  • Possessing a prohibited weapon; or
  • Possessing a weapon in a prohibited place; or
  • Possessing a firearm or ammunition without a FOID card; or
  • Illegally transporting a firearm

Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon (AUUW):

  • Possessing a firearm in public without a FOID card or concealed carry license; or
  • Using a prohibited weapon to commit a crime

Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon (UUW – by a Felon):

  • Possessing a prohibited weapon after having been convicted of a felony

Firearms-Enhanced Sentencing

In Illinois, some violent crimes that are committed with a firearm automatically result in an enhanced sentence. Where applicable, the following enhancements apply:

  • 15 years is automatically added to the sentence if the crime was committed while "armed with a firearm."
  • 20 years is automatically added to the sentence if, during the commission of the crime, the defendant "discharged a firearm."
  • 25 years up to life is automatically added to the sentence if, during the commission of the crime, the defendant "discharged a firearm that proximately caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death to another person."

Contact Thomas C. Hallock if you need a skilled and committed firearms defense attorney in Chicago. Reach the firm at (888) 412-3741 for a free consultation.

HELPFUL TIPS FROM ME TO YOU

HOW TO PROPERLY EXERCISE YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

What You Should Do

  • Be respectful at all times.
  • Calmly record the interaction.
  • Ask if you are free to leave. If you do not ask, the officer may think—and the judge may agree—that the interaction was consensual.
  • If you are free to leave, go! If you are not free to leave, respectfully but firmly ask to speak with your lawyer.

What You Should Not Do

  • Do not physically resist arrest.
  • Do not become aggressive or confrontational.
  • Do not consent to a search. The Constitution does not apply if you consent.
  • Do not answer questions without first speaking with your attorney. Police are allowed to hold you for 48 hours and they may lie to you the entire time.

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