There are a variety of factors that determine the type and severity of weapon charges a defendant may face in Illinois. Illinois has strict gun laws, but weapon charges are not limited to guns. According to 720 ILCS 5/24-1, weapons in Illinois include “any bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, or any knife.”
A few types of weapon charges in Illinois include:
- Unlawful Use of a Weapon
- Aggravated Discharge
- Armed Habitual Criminal
Unlawful Use of Weapons
Illinois residents must hold a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card to possess a firearm. If you are caught in the possession of a firearm without a FOID card, this is considered Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
If a person charged of Illinois or Federal gun crime has a prior felony conviction on his or her record, prosecutors may charge them with Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon, which can result in several years in prison.
However, in some cases, even an individual with a FOID card can be charged with a UUW depending on the circumstances. FOID card holders transporting a firearm must have them:
- Broken down and in a non-functioning state, or
- Not immediately accessible, or
- Unloaded and enclosed in a case
Other weapons that Illinois residents may not sell, manufacture, purchase, possess, or carry include:
- Stun guns
- Billy clubs
Aggravated Discharge of Weapons
Aggravated Discharge occurs when a defendant fires a gun/weapon at others or fires it into a building or vehicle. Even if that building or vehicle is empty, it is still considered Aggravated Discharge.
This is considered a Class 1 felony punishable by a minimum of 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Armed Habitual Criminal
Defendants charged with Armed Habitual Criminal face a Class X felony. If a defendant has previously been convicted of two or more of the following, prosecutors may charge them as an Armed Habitual Criminal:
- Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon
- Car-jacking/Aggravated Car-jacking
- Aggravated Child Battery
- Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm
- Home Invasion
This is not a complete list, but those convicted of two or more of these crimes are not allowed to possess, sell, receive or transfer a gun.
A defense attorney can look at your unique situation and determine if there are factors that may help your case. Contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates, LLC for a free consultation.