When Can I Face Criminal Charges for Unlawful Use of Weapons?
There are multiple reasons why people may carry guns, knives, pepper spray, or other items that are considered weapons. These weapons are often used to ensure that a person has the proper protection and will be able to defend themselves when necessary, although they may also be used for hunting or other purposes. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that they may be in violation of the law when carrying or using certain types of weapons. For those who are facing weapons charges for the offense of unlawful use of weapons, it is important to understand the potential consequences of a conviction.
What Is Unlawful Use of Weapons?
In Illinois, gun owners are allowed to possess firearms if they have a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, and they may carry or transport firearms that are unloaded and kept in a box or container. Those who have a valid Concealed Carry permit may carry a loaded firearm on their person or in their vehicle. However, if a person possesses or carries a firearm without a valid FOID card and/or Concealed Carry permit, they may be charged with Unlawful Use of Weapons (UUW).
UUW charges may also apply if a person possesses or carries other types of weapons, including switchblade knives, brass knuckles, throwing stars, or blackjacks. Carrying a dangerous knife, razor, club, broken bottle, taser, or stun gun with the intent of using a weapon unlawfully against someone else may also result in criminal charges. Possession of grenades and other explosives and certain types of firearms, including machine guns, rifles with a barrel shorter than 16 inches, or shotguns with a barrel shorter than 18 inches, may result in criminal charges. UUW charges may also apply if a person carries any type of firearm in a church, mosque, temple, a place that sells alcoholic beverages, or a public gathering.
In most cases, Unlawful Use of Weapons is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, and a person who is convicted may be sentenced to up to one year in prison. Possession of illegal rifles, shotguns, or explosives may be charged as a Class 3 felony, and a person may be sentenced to between two and five years in prison. Possession of machine guns is a Class 2 felony with a sentence of three to seven years.
Charges of Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapons may apply in certain situations, including when a person was subject to an order of protection or if they allegedly engaged in drug crimes or violent crimes while in possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon. Aggravated UUW is generally charged as a Class 4 felony, and a conviction may result in a prison sentence of one to three years.
Contact Our Grundy County Weapons Charges Lawyer
If you are facing criminal charges related to possession or use of firearms or other weapons, the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. can provide you with legal representation and help you build a defense strategy. We will make sure you understand the charges you are facing, the potential penalties, and your options for avoiding a conviction. To schedule a free consultation, contact our Will County Unlawful Use of Weapons Attorney today at 815-740-4025.