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Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon - What You Should Know

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Joliet weapons charges lawyerWhen one has been convicted of a felony, many of their rights are restricted. A prime example is the law that restricts felons from owning, carrying, or using a firearm. Unfortunately, some are wrongly given the impression that their right may be restored after a certain time period. Others believe they may be able to purchase, own, or use a firearm if they move to another state. Still others find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. In all instances, the consequences for the unlawful use of a weapon by a felon charge can be severe.

Potential Consequences

In the state of Illinois, the unlawful use or possession of a firearm by a felon is considered a Class 2 felony. This means that a conviction will place a second felony on your record. Even worse is that unlawful use of a weapon can make you ineligible for probation, so you may also receive a prison sentence. In addition, you may be forced to complete community service, could be faced with significant fines, and may suffer increased difficulties in obtaining housing or employment.

It is also important to know that these consequences are generally reserved for those who have never been convicted of unlawful use or possession of a weapon. Those who have former convictions may be at risk for being charged as an “armed habitual criminal,” which could result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Fighting the Charges

Fighting a charge involving the unlawful use of a weapon by a felon can be difficult, but it is not necessarily impossible. There may be defenses that can be used to mitigate your charge. In some instances, it may even be possible to have the charges completely dismissed. Possible examples of viable defenses might include:

  • Provided notice to law enforcement that you were transporting the firearm to them;
  • Improper search or seizure (Fourth Amendment);
  • Being unaware of the firearm's presence (i.e. the firearm belonged to another person and you were not aware that it was on your property);
  • Finding a firearm that did not belong to you (and having the intent to turn it over to law enforcement); or
  • Taking the firearm away from someone who intended to use it against you.

Keep in mind that you should not attempt to fight such charges on your own. Further, you should never speak to an officer, detective, or other member of law enforcement until you have secured an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Doing so could result in further violation of your rights.

Contact Our Joliet Criminal Defense Lawyers

At the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., we recognize that having a conviction places you at risk for a subsequent conviction - even if you have done nothing wrong. This is exactly why we fight so aggressively to protect our clients. Let us work for you in your case. Call 815-666-1285 and schedule your consultation with one of our Joliet unlawful weapons charge attorneys today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K24-1.1

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