The sheer number of homicides in the news over the past few years has put a spotlight on Chicago’s gun violence. Illinois statutes regulate the use, possession, and carrying of a firearm, but the law can be confusing, and even gun owners can sometimes misunderstand it. Illinois residents are allowed to possess a gun or ammunition if they qualify for a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police.
Any criminal charge involving a weapon is taken seriously in the state of Illinois. When a person is arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm, it can impact the rest of his or her life. In some cases, a criminal record can be hard to erase. Interviewing for a job or trying to secure a home loan can be difficult when a criminal charge comes up on a background check.
Unlawful Use of a Weapon Penalties
Under Illinois law, the unlawful use of a weapon (UUW) is a serious crime. If person does not have a conceal and carry permit, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor UUW if he or she is found to be carrying a gun. If the gun was loaded and the person does not possess a FOID Card, he or she may be charged with an aggravated UUW, which is classified as a Class 4 felony in Illinois. Another example of a Class 4 felony is reckless discharge of a firearm. In certain scenarios, a second offense of these can be charged as a Class 3 felony. If a convicted felon is found in possession of a firearm, he or she may face a Class X felony.
The following punishments are for the different classes of misdemeanor and felony offenses:
- Class A misdemeanor: Up to one year of incarceration and a $2,500 fine
- Class 4 felony: One to three years in jail and a fine up to $25,000
- Class 3 felony: One to five years behind bars and a fine up to $25,000
- Class X felony: Six to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000
Punishments for Minors
According to Illinois gun laws, unlawful possession or use of a weapon by a minor can result in misdemeanor or felony charges. The possession of a firearm by someone who is under 18 years old is a Class 4 felony.
For an individual under 21 years old who has a criminal or juvenile delinquency record, possessing any firearm or ammunition is considered a Class A misdemeanor. The only exception to this rule is when the minor is lawfully participating in recreational activities such as hunting or target shooting.
Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer
The state of Illinois enforces stiff punishments for gun charges. Depending on the situation, a firearm violation charge can result in fines and/or prison time. If you or a loved one is facing charges for a weapons crime, it is imperative that you understand your options to avoid a criminal record. At McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC, our aggressive Joliet weapons violation attorneys will prepare a solid defense and make sure your rights are protected throughout the legal proceedings. To schedule your free initial consultation, call our office today at 815-727-0100.