Owning a firearm is one of the most important and protected rights in our country’s history. The Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that as citizens of Cook County, we have the right to conceal and carry a firearm on our person.
In Illinois, to own a firearm, we are required to have a firearm owner identification card and to carry the gun around on our person we are required to have a conceal and carry license.
In Illinois, if you do not properly carry your firearm with the proper licenses then you could be facing a felony charge and could be looking at time in prison.
Make sure that before you carry your weapon around, that you understand exactly how the unlawful use of a weapon law work in Chicago.
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Can You Possess a Gun in Chicago?
Under Illinois law, to be charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon the prosecutor must show the following four factors:
That you carried or possessed a firearm on your person or in any vehicle
That you were not at your home or fixed place of business.
That the firearm was not in a case, was unloaded and the ammo to the firearm was immediately accessible.
That you did not have a valid FOID card or a valid Conceal and Carry License.
Types of weapon Charges in Illinois
Unlawful Use of a Weapon
A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly carries or possesses in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person except when on his land or in his home, or business, any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser.
Aggravated unlawful use of a Weapon
A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly carries or possesses on or about his or her person, upon any public street any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser while the weapon was not in a case, was unloaded and the ammo to the firearm was immediately accessible and the person did not have a valid FOID or conceal and carry license.
Possession of a Weapon by a Felon
In Illinois, it is unlawful for a person to knowingly possess on or about his person or on his land or in his own home or business any weapon or any firearm, or ammo if the person has been convicted of a felony.
Punishments for weapon cases in Illinois
Aggravated unlawful use of a weapon is a class 4 felony where you could face between 1-4 years in prison. A second or subsequent offense of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon is a class 2 felony where you can face between 3 and 7 years of prison if you are convicted of the offense.
Unlawful use of a weapon is a class 2 felony where you could face between 3-7 years in prison. If you are convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, you are not eligible for probation and therefore the minimum time you will do in prison is three years.
Furthermore, if you are convicted of the offense of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, you will never be able to obtain a FOID card or conceal and carry license again.
Although it is a constitutional right to carry a weapon on your person, if the prosecutor can show that you did not properly carry the weapon or have the proper licenses, you could be facing serious felony charges.
First-time gun charges in Illinois
If you have been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and this is your first time facing this charge, you are eligible for probation. Although the weapon charge is a class four felony (which would subject you to 1-4 years in the Illinois department of corrections), you may be able to get probation with a good defense attorney.
Another option your attorney may be able to negotiate is for the prosecutor to amend the charge to a misdemeanor in order to prevent you from having a felony on your record.
What to do after being charged with a gun crime?
When facing a gun charge in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs of Cook County it is important that you talk to a knowledgeable Chicago criminal defense attorney to beat the charges.
A skilled gun lawyer will look at the circumstances of your arrest and know the best possible ways to beat the case. For example, a knowledgeable attorney can get the case thrown out if he can show that the police officer was just harassing you and there was no reason for the cop to stop and search you in the first place.
Another possibility is for your attorney to show that there is no possible way that you were in possession of the weapon. Depending on the circumstances, a skilled trial attorney in Cook County should be able to show the judge that the prosecutor cannot meet their burden and prove that you are in possession of the gun because of the location of the weapon.
Additionally, a defense attorney that is familiar with the judges and the prosecutors may be able to get your charges amended to a misdemeanor offense in order to keep the felony off your record and keep you out of Cook County Jail.
At the law offices of Alex Ktenas, we have had the opportunity to handle many gun cases both as a former assistant state attorney in Markham and 26th and California and as a defense lawyer.
Get help from a Chicago Gun Lawyer Today
We know exactly where to look in order to attack the prosecutor's case. Our Chicago Criminal Defense Firm offers a free case consultation to go over the charges and how it can affect your life moving forward.