Gun laws vary significantly from state to state. Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws and associated criminal penalties in the country. Illinois residents who violate firearm laws can face heavy fines and years of incarceration as a result. If you or someone you know has been charged with a firearm-related crime, it is crucial that you speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney to learn about your defense options.
Gun Owners Must Obtain a FOID Card
Illinois residents who wish to legally own a firearm or ammunition must obtain a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) from the Illinois State Police. Other than certain individuals who are exempt from this rule, such as members of the Armed Forces, anyone caught owning a firearm without a FOID card can face criminal consequences. Having a firearm in your possession without a FOID card is considered a petty offense in some circumstances and a felony offense in other circumstances.While this might seem like a rather dramatic range, there are many variables that must be taken into account by prosecutors.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Owning a gun with an expired FOID card that has been expired for six months or less is typically only a petty offense. If you own a gun without a FOID card but you qualify for a FOID card, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor unlawful possession of a firearm offense. This crime is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500. A second or subsequent FOID violation can be considered a Class 4 felony offense punishable by three years’ imprisonment and heavy fines.
You may also be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm if you:
- Are under 18 years old and possess a concealable firearm
- Possess one or more “explosive bullets”
- Are under 21 years old and have previously been convicted of a misdemeanor crime other than a traffic offense or found delinquent and you possess a firearm or ammunition
- Have been a patient in a mental health institution within the last five years and possess a firearm or ammunition
- Are addicted to narcotics and you have a firearm or ammunition in your possession
In addition to jail time and fees, being convicted of unlawful ownership of a firearm in Illinois can result in serious career and employment consequences, problems obtaining housing assistance or welfare, and disqualification from certain educational and financial aid opportunities. If you are an immigrant, you could even face deportation as a consequence of violating Illinois gun laws.
Contact a DuPage County Firearm Violation Lawyer
If you are facing criminal charges related to gun or weapons violations, contact Ana M. Mencini & Associates, P.C. for help. Our knowledgeable attorneys have 20 years of combined legal experience helping clients defend themselves against criminal charges. Schedule a free confidential consultation and case review with an Itasca criminal defense attorney by calling us at 630-875-1700 today.