The laws regarding Weapon Offenses have changed in recent years. No longer do the old restrictions and provisions apply. However, the laws still restrict the possession and use of weapons. More importantly, often times, a conviction mandates a prison sentence.
Firearm Statutes in Illinois
Four statutory codes in Illinois regulate the possession, transfer and transportation of firearms:
- The Criminal Code—Unlawful Use of Weapons (UUW): Under this statute, the law is violated if a person possesses, sells or transfers a firearm without a valid firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card. A person with a valid FOID card can also violate this law by transferring the firearm inappropriately. All firearms must be unloaded and encased to be carried or transported by a person with a FOID card unless that person also has a concealed carry license. Several firearms are illegal for all Illinois residents, even those with a valid FOID card. For example, machine guns and rifles shorter than 16 inches are always illegal. Additionally there are several locations where firearms are not permitted even with a valid FOID card and concealed carry license, such as schools, courthouses and places licensed to sell liquor. See the complete statute for the full set of restrictions.
- The Wildlife Code: This code is more restrictive than the criminal code and requires all weapons transported in any vehicle to be unloaded and encased. This code also regulates where and when firearms can be used for hunting, prohibits their use on certain protected lands, and requires a hunting license. See the complete statute for all restrictions.
- Firearm Owner’s Identification Act: This act requires all persons to have a FOID card in order to possess or buy firearms and ammunition. FOID cards are issued by the Illinois State Police. Information on how to obtain a FOID card can be found on the Illinois State Police website.
- Firearm Concealed Carry Act: In order to carry a concealed firearm in Illinois, a person must obtain a license for concealed carry. Even with a proper license, there are many locations that prohibit firearms, such as schools, courthouses and any location with a posted no firearms sign. Licenses can be obtained through the Illinois State Police. See their website for details.
Unlawful Use of Weapons—Not Just Firearms
Firearms are not the only weapons regulated in Illinois. The criminal statute contains a long list of weapons that are unlawful to possess. The UUW statute is violated when a person knowingly:
- Sells, manufactures, purchases, possess or carries a long list of weapons including: bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, throwing star or switchblade knife.
- Carries or possesses with the intent to use several weapons, including: a dagger, dirk, billy, broken bottle or taser.
- Carries a tear gas gun, bomb or liquid gas substance other than non-lethal noxious liquid gas carried for defense (pepper spray).
Penalties for Weapon Offenses in Illinois
In most cases, a violation of the UUW statute is a class 4 felony unless otherwise stated in the law. A class 4 felony in Illinois carries the possible sentence of 1-3 years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000. Every case is different and the actual sentence may vary depending on the circumstances of the offense. However, it is possible that a UUW conviction will result in the following penalties:
- You can be sentenced to time in prison
- You can be sentenced to probation
- You may be required to forfeit your FOID card
- You may be unable to get a better job
Weapon Offenses Criminal Defense Attorney Needed
The assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical if you have been charged with a weapon offense. No matter the situation, a criminal defense attorney is a necessary advocate for your defense. Call Dennis F. Dwyer today to discuss your charges.