Facing gun charges in Illinois can be one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences of a person’s life, especially if the person is a first-time offender. Even if you have a criminal record, facing gun charges can mean the risk of a conviction and a sentence involving significant prison time. If you are facing gun charges, you should always work with a Skokie criminal defense attorney. In the meantime, the following are five things you should know about gun charges in Illinois.
You Can be Charged with a Weapons Offense Even if You Lawfully Own the Gun Depending Upon How and Where You Carry the Firearm
Even if you lawfully own a firearm, Illinois restricts the carry of firearms in certain manners and in certain places. To be clear, in order to carry a concealed firearm in the state, you must apply for a concealed carry license under the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act.
Many People Are Not Permitted to Carry a Firearm Under Illinois Law
It is important to know that you may not be permitted to carry a firearm under Illinois law even if you do not have a criminal record. While many Illinois residents may know that it is illegal for a person with certain types of felony convictions to own a firearm, there are also other classes of people who are not permitted to carry a gun. For example, anyone under the age of 21 is not allowed to own a gun in the state. In addition, it is unlawful to own a gun if you do not have a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card.
Illinois Has a First Time Weapon Offender Program
The First Time Weapon Offender Program in Illinois is a diversionary program for people charged with gun crimes. To be eligible, a person must not have committed the gun offense during the commission of another violent crime, must not have been previously convicted of a violent offense, must not have gone through the First Time Weapon Offender Program previously, must not be aged 21 or older, and must not have an order of protection against him or her.
The court considers a variety of factors in deciding whether to sentence a person to the First Time Weapon Offender Program including, for example, the age and mental capacity of the defendant, the nature and circumstances of the crime, and the defendant’s potential risk to public safety.
Numerous Defense Strategies May Be Available to Fight Gun Charges
While a specific defense strategy will depend upon the specific facts of your case, it is important to know that there are many possible defenses to gun charges in Illinois. For example, you may be able to argue that you did not actually own the gun, that you did, in fact, have a lawful permit, or that your constitutional rights were violated.
Gun Charges Can be State or Federal Offenses
Weapons offenses can be charged under state or federal laws. It is important to know whether you are facing state or federal charges because the penalties can differ significantly.
Contact a Skokie Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you are facing criminal charges, you should seek assistance with your defense from a Skokie criminal defense lawyer. An advocate at our firm can begin working on your defense today. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus for more information.