Chicago Gun Crime Lawyer
For Weapons and Gun Offenses You Will Need an EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
If you have been arrested or charged with being in possession of a firearm or ammunition without a license, carrying a concealed weapon without a conceal and carry permit, or charged with a firearm-related offense in Illinois, you will quickly realize you are facing serious punishments and penalties.
Chicago Attorney Purav Bhatt has represented people from all walks of life for gun offenses and weapons charges. He has represented off-duty security guards, housewives on shopping trips, convicted felons, hunters, out of state visitors who are legally allowed to carry firearms in their own states, antique gun collectors, military servicemen, fans of shooting and firearms, and competitive sharpshooters. The one thing they have all had in common is that they found themselves in a position of having to explain their possession of firearms to the police.
Gun Laws in Chicago – Key Facts You Should Know
Firearm Owners Identification (FOID)
Illinois law goes a bit further than federal law concerning gun ownership. To be able to legally possess a firearm in Chicago, you need to obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. In order to get a FOID, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a US citizen
- Be 21 or older (if you are 18 and want to obtain a FOID, you need written consent from your parent or guardian)
- Are not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal laws
- Are not addicted to any controlled substance
- Are not mentally impaired
- Do not have any felony convictions on your record
Concealed Carry Permit
Even if you have a valid FOID card, you cannot carry your firearm around (on your person or in your vehicle) unless you have a concealed carry permit. Furthermore, you are not allowed to carry your concealed firearm in places where firearm possession is prohibited by law, with or without the permit. You can find the list of places where you are prohibited from carrying a firearm here.
Unlawful Use of Weapons in Chicago
Illinois gun laws place strict restrictions on possessing firearms and carrying firearms in public. Individuals violating these restrictions can be charged with unlawful use of a weapon or aggravated unlawful use of a weapon – depending on the circumstances.
- Having a firearm without a valid FOID card.
- Having a firearm that is loaded and immediately accessible in your vehicle.
- Having an unloaded firearm with firearm ammunition immediately accessible in your vehicle.
- Carrying a firearm in public without a concealed carry permit.
- Carrying a firearm in a place where firearms are prohibited by law.
Apart from this, if you have a firearm in your possession while committing a misdemeanor or felony offense, you can be charged with unlawful use of a weapon – in addition to the serious criminal charges stemming from the original criminal offense.
It should be noted that you do not actually have to use your firearm in order to be charged with unlawful use of a weapon. Merely possessing a firearm in violation of Illinois law is sufficient to charge you with unlawful use of a weapon.
Penalties for Firearm Offenses in Chicago
The penalties for firearm offenses can range from fines to lengthy prison sentences – depending on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony and other aggravating factors.
For instance, unlawful possession of a firearm is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $2,500 fine and a one-year jail term. If you are found with a firearm at a bar, liquor store, or any other establishment that sells or serves alcohol, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony.
If you discharge your firearm in a reckless manner, you can be charged with reckless discharge of a firearm or aggravated discharge of a firearm, both of which are felony offenses.
The severity of your charges might also depend on whether you are a first offender or if you have previously been convicted of a firearm-related offense.
Possible Defenses Against Weapons Charges in Chicago
Weapons charges are extremely serious in nature and you need a highly skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney on your side in order to protect your rights and freedom. Depending on the weapons charge you are facing and other factors, your firearm attorney might use one of the following defenses to defend you.
- The police officer did not have probable cause to stop and search you.
- The evidence against you was obtained unlawfully.
- You were not actually in possession of the firearm in question.
- The firearm belonged to someone else and you were not aware of its presence in your vehicle or home.
An Experienced Gun Attorney
If you have been charged with a weapon or gun charge, reach out to a criminal defense lawyer from the Law Office of Purav Bhatt. Our team is led by attorney Purav Bhatt, who is a former prosecutor and has comprehensive knowledge of the criminal justice system in Illinois. A Chicago weapons lawyer will fight aggressively for your rights and work to get your case dismissed or charges reduced.
If you have been charged with weapons-related offenses, call (773) 791-9682 for an experienced gun lawyer.