It is no secret that the incidence of weapons violations in Chicago is high. Just last summer, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that more than 5,500 illegal guns were seized from January to September of 2016. The data reveals that law enforcement authorities are seizing more illegal guns in Chicago than anywhere else in the U.S.
Addressing this concern, last month Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law what is touted as new, tougher sentencing guidelines for repeat gun offenders.
Among those leading the push for stricter sentencing guidelines for repeat gun offenders were Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Johnson even spoke before the Senate’s Criminal Law Committee to encourage the changes, as Chicago experiences an era of record-setting gun violence and homicides. Both the Mayor and Police Superintendent advocated for the new, stricter sentencing guidelines to help police and prosecutors keep illegal guns and those who use them off the streets of the city. They see the move as one toward holding accountable for their actions those convicted of repeat gun crimes.
Contents of the New Law
Currently, defendants found guilty of repeat gun crimes could face a sentence that is much less punitive. Judges have the flexibility to incarcerate a guilty party from three to 14 years, under current sentencing guidelines. The new law is effective January 2018 and consists of the following guidelines:
- Judges will have the option of handing out sentences of seven to 14 years for those found guilty of a repeat gun offense.
- Any judge who wishes to depart from the new sentencing guidelines and hand down a lesser sentence must explain in writing why they are choosing to do so.
Opponents of the change believe these new sentencing guidelines will result in the incarceration of minorities at a disproportionate rate, without truly addressing the issue of street crime.
Retain the Services of a Respected Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney
In the event you are charged with a gun-related offense, whether it is your first offense or fifth, it is important to have an experienced and aggressive Will County weapons defense attorney at your side to ensure you receive fair treatment under the law. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will work on your behalf to ensure all the facts are presented for a fair and equitable court experience.