A weapons charge is a very serious charge and if convicted has severe penalties that include jail time and large fines. Convictions to these types of charges will become part of your record, and can jeopardize your chances at future jobs. It is important to obtain a criminal defense attorney with experience handling weapons charges. Even if you are firmly convinced of your right to own a firearm or any other weapon, if you are facing a weapons charge, you will want an experienced criminal defense attorney like Peter W Lewis arguing on your behalf.
Illinois has some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws, and it is the last state to operate under a specific condition regarding the carry of concealed firearms. Since most gun cases are the result of traffic stops or police searches, your attorney needs a comprehensive understanding and working knowledge of the 4th Amendment’s prohibition against unlawful searches and seizures. An experienced criminal defense attorney, like Peter W Lewis, understands the complexities of the law and can sort through the evidence to make sure that your constitutional rights are protected. Laws regulate whether a police officer can search your car or person, and determine lawful seizure of evidence. Sometimes evidence can be excluded or charges dropped because a good attorney can defend your case and demonstrate that the officers searched your car, person, or home without reasonable cause.
The Illinois gun laws can be complex and difficult to understand. Additionally the gun laws continue to change. Recent court rulings have forced lawmakers to review and change laws in order to allow Illinois residents the right to concealed carry. Even this new Illinois concealed carry law is lengthy and complex. Other recent changes in the law regulate gun sales. The penalties for breaking Illinois gun laws are severe, including huge fines and jail time for first offenses. It is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner if you find yourself charged with a gun crime. Attorney Peter W Lewis stays up to date with changes in the law, understands its complexities, and knows how to enact a solid defense.
Whatever the issues are surrounding your weapons charge, Attorney Peter W Lewis knows that misunderstandings and false allegations can spring up when it comes to weapon charges. He also knows that the best way for you to defend yourself against such allegations is to have an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney defending you at all stages of your case. Because he has years of experience in defending clients just like you from weapons charges, he can bring his proven track record to bear on your case and provide you with quality legal counsel. Attorney Peter W Lewis will evaluate your case and advise you as to what steps would best serve you. If you decide to work with him, you can rest assured that we will always treat you with respect and give your case the time and attention that it deserves.
As you will see below, the gun laws in Illinois are complicated and carry stiff sentences and fines. Only a criminal defense attorney who has a history of getting results and standing up to prosecutors can get the results you need. Using his hard won skill, creativity, knowledge and experience are what criminal defense lawyer Peter W Lewis uses to find the way to win.
When your future is on the line, you can’t afford to settle for less.
Illinois Gun Crimes
In Illinois, a person can be charged with a gun crime if any of the various Illinois gun laws are broken. These can include possessing an illegal weapon, firing a weapon illegally, selling a weapon in the improper way, or transporting a weapon incorrectly. Listed below are a few of the most common charges in Chicago and Cook County.
Unlawful Use of Weapon
In Illinois, a person commits the offense of Unlawful use of Weapons or UUW when he possesses a switchblade, blackjack, brass knuckles, dagger, razor, stiletto, broken bottle, Taser, or any other illegal weapon. A person also violates Illinois’s UUW law when he carries any pistol, revolver or other firearm when he is not in his home or place of business. A person in Illinois also commits this offense if they transport a gun illegally, i.e. without a FOID card, without a license for concealed carry, or in a manner that is against regulations (loaded and accessible). Even if a person has a FOID card or a Concealed Carry License, they are in violation of the UUW statute if they have a weapon in a place that does not allow weapons; for example, government building, school or hospital. Finally, a person commits the offense of UUW if they possess firearm ammunition without a FOID card. A violation of any of these kinds of UUW mentioned above is a Class A misdemeanor which carries a potential penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
However, as noted above, the gun laws in Illinois are complicated. A charge of UUW becomes a Class 4 felony (1 to 3 years in prison) if a deadly gun is possessed in a bar or while wearing a hood or mask. It becomes a Class 3 felony (2 to 5 years in prison) if you possess a gun with a silencer or shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches long. It is a Class 2 (3 to 7 years in prison) if a person possesses a machine gun. A person who possesses a machine gun in a car commits a Class X felony (6 to 30 years in prison).
Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapons
Most defendants in Chicago and Cook County are charged with Aggravated UUW. A person commits Aggravated UUW if they carry on their person or in any vehicle a loaded pistol, revolver, stun gun or Taser or other firearm, or an unloaded firearm if the ammo is within reach. It is also Aggravated UUW if the person is possession of the gun has not been issued a valid FOID card. Aggravated UUW is a Class 4 felony and carries a penalty of up to 1 to 3 years in prison and fine of up to $25,000.
Unlawful Use of Weapons by a Felon
A person commits UUW by a felon or Aggravated UUW by a felon if they commit the same crimes described above after having been convicted of a felony charge. Aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a person with a felony record is a Class 2 Felony, for which the person shall be sentenced to prison for no less than 3 years and not more than 7 years.
Gun Ownership and Staying on the Right Side of the Law in Illinois
In Illinois, there are strict guidelines for owning, selling, and carrying firearms and ammunition. A person must obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card in order to possess or purchase a firearm and ammunition. This is not a concealed carry license! Illinois residents must obtain a separate license to carry a concealed weapon. FOID cards can be obtained by submitting an application to the Illinois State Police. Even with a FOID card, there are regulations regarding proper ways to transport firearms.
- To stay in compliance while transporting weapons, the weapon must be:
Transported by a person with a valid FOID card while Unloaded AND Enclosed in a case
The new concealed carry law also has very specific regulations for staying in compliance. Those regulations determine what type of weapon can be concealed, where it can be taken, and by whom. A person must obtain a proper license and follow the rules regarding that license. Even with a license for concealed carry, firearms still cannot be brought into many premises, including government buildings, schools and hospitals.