Most Frequent Gun Charges in Illinois

Most Frequent Gun Charges in Illinois

Illinois, like many states, has strict laws regulating the possession, use, and carrying of firearms. Understanding the most frequent gun charges is essential for residents and visitors alike to ensure compliance with the law.

Navigating the complex landscape of gun charges in Illinois requires a thorough understanding of state laws and a commitment to responsible firearm ownership. If you or someone you know is facing gun-related charges, seeking legal counsel is crucial to ensure that your rights are protected.

Illinois Gun Laws

Illinois has some of the country’s strongest gun safety laws. The following are some of the state’s foundational laws and regulations to be aware of:

  • Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card: In Illinois, individuals must obtain a FOID card to possess firearms and ammunition legally. This applies to both residents and non-residents.
  • Concealed Carry: Illinois allows for concealed carry of handguns, but a separate permit is required. The Illinois State Police issues Concealed Carry Licenses (CCL) to qualified individuals.
  • Background Checks: A background check is required for all firearm purchases, whether from a licensed dealer or through private transactions. This includes long guns and handguns.
  • Waiting Period: There is generally a 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of handguns and a 24-hour waiting period for the purchase of long guns.
  • Assault Weapons: Illinois has restrictions on certain types of firearms categorized as assault weapons. There are registration requirements for owning such guns, and some local ordinances may have additional restrictions.
  • Magazine Capacity: There are restrictions on the capacity of magazines for handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Certain magazines are prohibited, and there are limits on the number of rounds allowed in a magazine.
  • Transportation of Firearms: Firearms must be transported, unloaded, and enclosed in a case. Ammunition should be in a separate case or container.
  • Prohibited Persons: Individuals convicted of felonies, certain misdemeanors, or subject to domestic violence restraining orders are generally prohibited from owning firearms.
  • Open Carry: Illinois generally does not allow open carry, but there are some exceptions for specific situations, such as hunting or on private property.
  • Gun-Free Zones: Firearms are generally prohibited in certain places like schools, government buildings, and public transportation.

Levels of Charges in Illinois Gun Cases

If an individual violates any of the laws mentioned above, they can face a range of charges. The following are some of the most common gun charges Illinois residents may encounter:

Unlawful Use of a Weapon

Under Illinois law, it is illegal for certain individuals to possess firearms, including convicted felons, individuals with certain mental health conditions, and minors.

The penalties for unlawful weapon use vary depending on the specific offense. For example, possessing a firearm without a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. The penalties for violating this law could include a year or more in jail and fines of $2,500 or more. However, if your criminal history includes a felony conviction, the unlawful possession of a weapon is a Class 2 felony, with punishments ranging from 3-7 years in state prison and fines of up to $25,000.

Aggravated Discharge of a Weapon

A person commits aggravated gun discharge in Illinois when they knowingly discharge a firearm in the direction of another person, vehicle, or building. Aggravated discharge of a weapon is a Class 1 felony and is punishable by 4-15 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $25,000. If the firearm discharge results in significant harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement, the offense becomes a Class X felony, which is punishable by 6-30 years in prison.

Reckless Discharge of a Weapon

The reckless discharge of a weapon is another common gun charge in Illinois. According to Illinois law, a person commits reckless discharge of a gun when they discharge a firearm in a manner that endangers an individual’s physical safety. Illinois law punishes the reckless discharge of a firearm with a fine of up to $25,000 and 1-3 years of incarceration.

An Illinois Gun Charge Conviction Can Lead to Imprisonment

As you can see, gun charges in Illinois can result in several years in prison. If you have been charged with a gun crime, you need a lawyer who specializes in gun crimes on your side.

Why should you hire a lawyer to help with a gun charge conviction? Put simply, they can protect your rights and potentially mitigate the consequences of your conviction, reducing the amount you have to pay in fines and reducing the amount of time (if any) you have to spend in prison.

Here are some additional reasons to work with a criminal defense lawyer:

  • In-Depth Expertise: The best criminal defense lawyers are very familiar with gun charges and have extensive knowledge defending clients facing charges like yours. They understand the nuances of Illinois’ gun laws and can use that familiarity to guide you through your case.
  • Access to Resources: Experienced criminal defense attorneys can access resources to build a strong defense. They can hire investigators, forensic experts, and other professionals to strengthen your case and challenge the prosecution.
  • Court Preparation: Getting ready to go to court by yourself is an incredibly nerve-wracking experience. However, if you work with criminal defense attorneys, they can help you prepare for court, know what to expect when you arrive, and reduce your anxieties.
  • Support and Guidance: Criminal defense lawyers can provide emotional support and additional guidance during this difficult and stressful time. They can help you understand the legal process, answer questions as they arise, and provide you with realistic expectations.

What Are Your Rights Under Illinois Law with Gun Charges?

You have a right to an attorney if you’ve been charged with a gun crime in Illinois. Our team at Wolfe & Stec has years of criminal law experience and is ready to assist with your case. We currently serve clients in the Woodridge and Naperville areas. If you’re located in either of these places and are presently facing gun charges, get in touch.

You can contact us through our online form or call us at 630-305-0222 to schedule a free consultation.

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]