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Understanding Charges for Unlawful Use of a Weapon

Posted in Criminal Defense on Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

With some exceptions, citizens of the United States have the right to keep and bear arms (when they follow the necessary procedures). In the State of Illinois, this means obtaining a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card and a concealed carry permit (if the gun owner in question chooses to carry outside of his or her own property). An important component of responsible gun ownership is understanding the rules and restrictions that apply – and carefully adhering to them. Charges of unlawful use of a weapon (UUW) in Illinois are serious charges that should not be downplayed. If you are facing a UUW charge, it is time to consult with an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney

Unlawful Use of a Weapon

Unlawful use of a weapon refers to carrying a gun in public without having a concealed carry permit. If the accused does not have a FOID card or the gun he or she is carrying is loaded when the charges are levied, the charge is elevated to an aggravated UUW. 

Penalties and Fines

Put simply, there are no minor gun charges. Consider the following examples of how UUW laws apply:

  • If you own a gun but do not have a FOID card, it is against the law (and the charge will correspond with the kind of firearm you possess). 
  • If you have a FOID card but carry your unloaded gun in a manner deemed improper, you can face a misdemeanor UUW.
  • If the UUW charge you face reaches the level of a Class A misdemeanor, a conviction can lead to a maximum charge of up to 1 year in jail and to fines of up to $2,500. 
  • An aggravated UUW charge is even more serious. These are typically classified as Class 4 felonies, and a conviction can lead to from 1 to 3 years behind bars. 
  • Owning a gun with an expired FOID card is also considered a UUW.

It is worth noting that Illinois prosecutors are often averse to settling for anything less than jail time when it comes to charges involving the unlawful use of weapons. In other words, Illinois takes a tough stance when it comes to gun ownership, and this is true whether you are a resident of the state or are just passing through. If you own a gun, you are well-advised to take Illinois’ rules and restrictions seriously.   

Turn to an Experienced Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney for the Legal Help You Need

Gun ownership is an immense responsibility, and Illinois has the strict rules and regulations to prove it. If you are facing an unlawful use of a weapon charge, it is a serious matter, but the accomplished criminal defense attorneys at Sabuco Beck, P.C., in Joliet are well-prepared to help build your most solid defense – in zealous pursuit of your case’s best possible resolution. Your case is important, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about how we can help today.

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