The United States Constitution indicates that Americans have “the right to bear arms,” but there are some situations that may hinder (or even outright eliminate) an individual's “right” to own, use, or carry a firearm. Since gun laws are made and enforced at the state level, these conditions can vary from one state to the next. Learn more about the consequences of breaking firearm laws in the state of Illinois, and discover how a seasoned criminal defense lawyer may be able to help.
What Constitutes Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Illinois?
In the state of Illinois, gun owners must possess a Firearm Owner's Identification Card, otherwise known as an FIOD. Without it, you risk being charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. Moreover, if you wish to carry a concealed weapon, you must also possess a permit for doing so. If you are caught with a concealed weapon and do not have one, you could face criminal charges. Other scenarios that may lead to criminal charges for unlawful possession of a firearm include:
- Being a minor (under age 18) in possession of a firearm of a size that may be concealed (even if you are not actively concealing it);
- Possessing a firearm or ammunition when you are under the age of 21 in and have a misdemeanor conviction of any kind (other than traffic offenses);
- Possessing a firearm or ammunition if you have been a mental institution patient within the last five years;
- Being a narcotic addict and having a firearm or ammunition in your possession;
- Possessing an explosive bullet or another prohibited weapon; and
- Possessing a firearm or ammunition when you have been convicted of a felony in any state.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm - Examining the Consequences of a Conviction
Depending on the situation, unlawful possession of a firearm may be classified as either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony in the state of Illinois. Note that you can be charged with multiple counts of unlawful possession of a firearm - one for each gun or piece of ammunition that is found in your possession at the time of arrest. So, if you had one gun and seven bullets, you could be charged with as many as eight counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Consequences for a Class A misdemeanor charge can include up to a year in jail, two years of probation, and as much as $2,500 in fines and penalties. Unlawful possession felony convictions can result in up to three years in prison, 30 months of probation, and significant fines.
Criminal consequences should not be your only worry, however, as there are also what is known as collateral consequences for those who are convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm. These can include:
- Difficulty finding or retaining employment, due to your criminal record;
- Rejection of your application to certain colleges or universities;
- Difficulty obtaining financial aid if you are ever accepted to a college or university;
- Trouble qualifying for welfare, public assistance, or housing assistance programs; and
- Possible deportation if were not born as a U.S. citizen.
Contact Our Joliet Weapons Defense Attorneys for Aggressive Representation
When facing criminal charges, it is important to know you can trust the attorney representing you. Backed by decades of experience and known as one of the most aggressive legal defense teams in the state, the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. are the ones to contact. Schedule your consultation with our Plainfield weapons charges defense lawyers by calling 815-733-5350 today.