Across the state of Illinois, the use of weapons is highly regulated for citizens’ safety and keeps them away from wrongdoers. Illinois has some of the strictest laws for possessing and using weapons. These laws are set to keep the community safe and protect citizens. That is why unlawful use of a weapon Illinois can result in a misdemeanour and even felony charges in certain situations.
A charge’s severity is dependent on the circumstances related to the incident, because of which discussing the case details with a skilled attorney is of paramount importance. Here, you will come to know the consequences of unlawful weapon use in Illinois.
What Constitutes an Unlawful Use of Weapons Charge in Illinois?
As far as UUW in Illinois is concerned, there are many situations in which you may be charged with it. However, the most common charges involve the weapon owner’s FOID card and CCW license. Any person who wants to possess a firearm legally needs a FOID card and a CCW license to carry it. Under 720 ILCS 5/24-1, you may be charged with UUW if you are found doing any of the following:
- Carry, purchase, sell, manufacture, or possess an illegal weapon
- Carry a weapon in a concealed form
- Have a silencer to mask the firearm’s sound
- Carry a firearm in public
- Carry a dangerous weapon to a government building
What Weapons are Included in the Category of Unlawful Weapons?
Besides firearm, several other items can be categorized as unlawful weapons in Illinois:
- Blackjacks and bludgeons
- Slung shots
- Sandbags and sand clubs
- Metal knuckles
- Throwing stars
- Ballistic knives
- Switchblade knives
- Daggers, razors, dirks, or stilettos
- Broken bottles
- Tasers or stun guns
- Tear gas gun or bomb
Certain gun types are completely prohibited in Illinois,
- such as a machine gun
- or a rifle barrel shorter than 16 inches
If the police find you with any of these weapons, UUW charges may apply.
Punishments for UUW Charges
Unlawful use of a weapon in Illinois can be categorized into three types, based on which the punishment is determined:
- Possession Without Permit:
- If your FOID is expired, your offense comes under class A misdemeanour, for which you may be fined up to $2,500, imprisoned for up to one year, or both.
- If you do not have a valid ID card, the first offense is class A misdemeanour, and the subsequent offense is a class 4 felony, for which you may be imprisoned for up to 3 years, fined for up to $25,000, or both.
- If your card is revoked and you are not allowed to renew it, it is a class 3 felony, for which you can be imprisoned for 2-the years, fined up to $25,000, or both.
- Possession by Minor
Unlawful weapon possession is classified as a class 4 felony, for which you may be imprisoned for 1-3 years, fined up to $25,000, or both.
- Possession by a Convicted Felon
It is a class 3 felony, for which you may be imprisoned for 2-5 years, fined up to $25,000, or both.
The punishments can be even harsher, with 10-15 years of imprisonment without parole if the weapon is found under the possession of a prohibited person. Such persons include anyone who is awaiting trial on a felony charge, a drug user or addict, a person under a domestic restraining order, a fugitive, legal alien, or a person who failed a drug test within the last 12 months.
Although you have the right to own weapons in Illinois, you must follow all federal and state guidelines to own, possess or purchase them. Otherwise, you may face dire consequences and penalties. If you face any gun charges in Illinois, find a knowledgeable attorney who can defend you against it.