A common charge in the state of Illinois is Unlawful Use of a Weapon. Often, this charge will be related to firearms, but the law includes other weapons as well, such as knives, explosives, tasers, or even broken bottles.
To own a gun in Illinois, residents must have a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card. In some cases, even individuals 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
To carry a concealed firearm, Illinois residents must hold both a concealed carry license and a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card.
Knives, Tasers, Explosives, and Other Weapons
Other weapons that the law covers include a “bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon…throwing star…switchblades.”
Weapons that are carried with the intent to…use unlawfully against another include “a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser.” This means that these items may be present, but individuals must be carrying them with the intent to harm another person. It is one thing to drop a bottle and break it, it is another to break it and carry it into a fight.
Penalties for Unlawful Use of a Weapon
Most UUW charges are felonies, though some situations may just bring misdemeanor charges. Penalties can be harsher based on where the violation takes place. For instance, carrying a gun inside an establishment that serves alcohol is a more severe charge than carrying a gun in public. Other places that bring severe charges include schools and government buildings.
Unlawful Use of a Weapon charges can also be more severe if you already have a criminal history. If an individual has a prior felony conviction on his or her record, the result could mean several years in prison.
A defense attorney can look at your unique situation and determine if there are factors that may help your case. Because weapons charges, especially those involving guns, are very serious in Illinois, it is crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you suffer an Unlawful Use of a Weapon charge in Illinois, contact Richard at Fenbert Law, LLC for a free consultation.