What to Do if You are Arrested for Weapons Charges in Chicago
Illinois takes weapons-related offenses very seriously. For example, did
you know it is illegal to possess ammunition in Illinois if you have previously
been convicted of a felony? Also, did you know it is illegal to possess
a switchblade knife in Illinois without a weapons permit? Illinois has
even made it a crime to
possess a broken bottle if it might be used as a weapon.
Illinois has some of the
most restrictive gun laws in the United States. It is one of only five states that do not allow
open carry of a weapon under any circumstances (unless the individual
is required to have one, such as a police officer, for example). This
can be news to tourists who may come to Illinois from states with more
In any event, if you find yourself accused of violating a weapons statute
in Illinois, there are a few things to know:
- Cooperate with law enforcement. Even if you believe you are completely
within the law, always cooperate with law enforcement, especially when
weapons are involved. The last thing a defendant needs on top of a weapons
charge is an accusation that the defendant interfered with the duties
of a law enforcement official. Additionally, resisting arrest is not clearly
defined under Illinois law, so there are several behaviors that may lead
to an officer accusing you of resisting arrest. It is better to remain
calm and cooperative so the situation does not escalate.
- Similarly, do not try to hide or alter evidence. This could result in additional
charges of tampering with evidence or obstruction of justice if you attempt
to conceal, alter, falsify, disguise, or destroy it. Relevant evidence
includes more than just the weapon at issue - it can also include related
paperwork or other documentation. While it may seem like the best course
of action to hide a weapon when facing accusations or arrest, in the long
run it may be better to cooperate.
- Do not panic. You may think you are automatically guilty and looking at
time behind bars if you were in possession of a weapon and were arrested.
However, there are many ways to successfully defend against a weapons
charge. For example, if the weapon was disassembled or otherwise unable
to be used, you may be able to avoid conviction. Additionally, if you
possess a permit to carry the weapon, and you were following the conditions
of the permit, you may be off the hook. Finally, remember that officers
have strict procedures they must follow during arrests, detainment, and
interrogations. If an officer uses improper tactics, your charges could
be dropped. It is important to retain an experienced attorney immediately
upon arrest to ensure you are informed of all available defenses.
- Even if you are arrested and formally charged, you may not have to sit
in jail while your case moves forward. Not every weapons charge is inherently
violent, so if you are charged with a crime, you may be released pending
sentencing. Especially during the COVID-19 crisis, judges are working
to keep as many non-violent offenders out of jail while awaiting sentencing
as possible. Simply possessing a weapon, itself, is not a violent offense.
You may have a good chance of being released while awaiting trial, sentencing,
or any other hearing.
Given how restrictive Illinois weapons laws are, it is best to avoid carrying
one at all, especially around government buildings, schools, or places
that serve alcohol. Even if you are visiting Illinois, if you are convicted
of a crime in the state, you may face jail time in the state.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago
The most important thing you can do when facing weapons charges in Illinois
is to retain adequate representation. This will ensure you are aware of
your rights and that you follow the best possible course of action. If
you are arrested on weapons charges, contact attorney Thomas Hallock to
discuss your case for free. Call 888-412-3741 or
fill out the online form today.