If you have been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony unlawful use of weapons (UUW) charge The Law Office of Purav Bhatt can help with your UUW or FOID defense in Chicago. We are highly experienced in dealing with all types of weapons and weapons FOID registration violations.

Unlawful Use of Weapons: The Repercussions

Being charged with a misdemeanor or felony UUW charge can have serious repercussions. Penalties for Unlawful Use of Weapons or UUW (720 ILCS 24-1), as the offense is commonly called, can range from misdemenor to felony offenses. A person has committed the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he/she knowingly sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses or carries a variety of weapons. These weapons include bludgeons, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapons, throwing stars, switchblade knife (opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button or spring, or a ballistic knife that propels a blade as a projectile.

You can also be charged with Unlawful Use of Weapons if you carry or possess, with the intent to use against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser. Additionally, you may be charged with UUW if you carry on your person, or in a vehicle, a tear gas gun or bomb, or any other object containing a noxious liquid, gas or substance aside from a device for self-defense such as pepper spray. But remember, you must be over 18 to carry the pepper spray.

Finally, you can be charged with UUW for carrying or possessing in a vehicle or concealing upon your person, any pistol, revolver, stun gun, or taser. You are allowed by law to possess a firearm when you are on your own land, in your home, legal dwelling or place of business, or any property by which you have permission to dwell upon. You can also be charged for carrying or possessing a spring gun, possessing any king of silencing device for a firearm or selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing or carrying a machine gun, any rifle having a barrel less than 16 inches or shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches (commonly known as a sawed-off shotgun). Being in possession of a single bullet can lead to being charged with a UUW as well.

As you can see, the law is very general in what it considers a weapon. The penalties for Unlawful Use of Weapons will depend on the type of weapon and where it was found. At a minimum, Unlawful Use of Weapons charges can be misdemeanor offenses, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2500 fine. Common misdemeanor UUW charges include possession of knives, tasers, bullets or an unloaded firearms. A person who is in possession of a firearm or taser in a bar, tavern or other public gathering where admission is charged or possesses a firearm, stun gun or knife while hooded raises the penalty to a Class 4 felony which is punishable by 1-3 years in the department of corrections. If you are in possession of a silencer you will be facing a Class 3 felony which is punishable by 2-5 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections while possession of a machine gun is a Class 2 felony punishable by 3-7 years without the possibility of probation. If that machine gun is loaded, you will face a Class X felony which is punishable by 6-30 years in prison.

Furthermore, if you are going to transport weapons, there are requirements that must be followed if you wish to avoid being arrested for Unlawful Use of Weapons. The weapon must be broken down in a non-functioning state or not immediately accessible or, if a firearm, unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has a valid Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID).

The most common situation my clients find themselves in is being charged with a felony offense because they have a loaded firearm in their vehicle. Once the vehicle is pulled over by the police, law abiding citizens will inform the officer that they have a firearm in the car. Once the police hear there is a weapon in the car, they remove the driver, arrest him/her and confiscate the firearm. Even when the client is found not guilty, it is very difficult to get the weapon back from the court.

Misdemeanor convictions can carry penalties of up to 364 days in jail and fines and felony UUW charges can lead to penitentiary sentences in the department of corrections. Having strong representation can help to prevent a possible jail sentence and reduce fines and court costs.

Regardless of the type of unlawful use of weapons (UUW) charge, as a former Cook County state’s attorney, Purav Bhatt, understands the goals and abilities of prosecutors. That knowledge and experience is crucial in creating positive results for you through trial or negotiations.

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The Law Office of Purav Bhatt can help you through any stages of the criminal process including: preliminary hearings, arraignments, negotiations, trial, sentencing, probation and post-conviction hearings.

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