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The Role of Chicago Gun Crime Lawyers in the Legal Process

Chicago Gun Crime Attorneys

Official government reports show that in 2021 there were 1995 gun-related deaths in Illinois. These scary statistics have led to the strict application of gun laws in Illinois. Law enforcement agents will prosecute anyone suspected of using a gun or firearm illegally to the fullest extent of the law. 

If you’re facing a gun charge in Chicago, Illinois, you could spend many years in jail if convicted. Defending yourself against gun crime charges in Illinois could be tricky because there are different kinds of gun crimes in the state. Thus, a gun and firearm crimes lawyer in Illinois who understands the elements of each type of gun crime and how to defend them is crucial. 

The skilled attorneys at the Hirsch Law Group have extensive experience dealing with different gun crimes in Chicago, Illinois. We can defend you aggressively in court and fight for positive results in your case.

Below we discuss some common gun crimes in the state and their penalties to help you understand what you’re up against and specific ways our attorneys can help your case. Keep reading to learn more.

Types of Gun Crimes in Chicago Illinois

Some of the typical gun crimes in Illinois include the following:

Unlawful Use of a Weapon (UUW)

 The offense of unlawful use of weapons under Illinois law involves several acts and misuse of different kinds of weapons. But here, we focus on the provisions relevant to guns and firearms. To that extent, unlawful use of weapons (guns) is committed when a person does certain acts, including any of the following:

  • Keeps a gun in a vehicle or on their person outside their home, place of business, or anywhere else they are legally permitted to keep it. This act does not qualify as a crime if the gun is non-functional or not immediately accessible. Persons with a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card or license issued under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act are also exempt from criminal liability under this section.
  • Sells, manufactures, purchases, owns, or carries a machine gun, rifle, or shotgun. Not all rifles or shotguns are prohibited under this head. Only those in which one or more barrels are less than 16 or 18 inches, respectively, are illegal here.
  • Carries a firearm in a place licensed to sell intoxicating drinks, such as a bar or any public gathering licensed by the government.
  • Carries a pistol, revolver, or any other firearm while wearing a hood or mask to conceal their identity.
A UUW could be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the nature of the crime, where it was committed, and the defendant’s criminal history. The typical punishment for this crime is imprisonment.

Aggravated UUW

An aggravated UUW occurs when a person knowingly carries a pistol or revolver in their vehicle or on their person, or in public unless they are on their property or anywhere else they’ve been lawfully invited to and one of the following factors is present:
  •  The gun was loaded, uncased, and immediately accessible.
  • The carrier had no valid license issued under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.
  • The carrier of the gun has not been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.
  • The carrier has previously been declared a delinquent minor by a juvenile court for a crime that constitutes a felony if it was committed by an adult.
  • The carrier of the gun was engaged in a misdemeanor drug crime or an attempted violent misdemeanor against another.
  • A protective order had been issued against the carrier within the last two years.
  • The carrier was under 21 years old. The law makes an exception under this head for those engaged in lawful activities under the Illinois Wildlife Code. No criminal liability arises if a person under 21 carries a gun in such circumstances.

Classification of Aggravated UUW Offenses

 An aggravated UUW is a felony offense. The first aggravated UUW is a Class 4 felony, punishable by imprisonment for at least a year but not more than three years.

A second or subsequent aggravated UUW is a Class 2 felony, punishable by imprisonment for between 3 to 7 years unless the Unified Code of Corrections provides otherwise.

If the offender was wearing or had body armor in their possession without a valid Firearms Owner’s Identification Card when the offense was committed, it is a Class X felony. A Class X felony is punishable by imprisonment for up to thirty years.

Unlawful Use of a Weapon (UUW) By a Felon

A convicted felon in prison custody or released ex-felon does not have gun rights in Illinois. It is illegal for such people to carry a gun or keep one on their home or business premises.

When committed by an ex-felon, this offense is classified as a Class 3 felony. It is punishable by imprisonment for between two to ten years. A second or subsequent crime is a Class 2 felony. It is punishable by imprisonment for between three to 14 years. If the firearm possessed is a machine gun, the offense is categorized as a class X felony and is punished accordingly.

Statutory Defenses to a UUW by a Felon Charge 

There are some statutory defenses available to those facing the above charge. They include the following:

  • By section 10 of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act, an ex-felon will not be liable for this charge if they have been permitted to keep a weapon by the Director of the Illinois State Police. 
  • There is no criminal liability for possessing a weapon or firearm for convicted felons in prison custody if they can show that the Illinois Department of Corrections specifically authorized their actions.

Armed Habitual Criminal

This gun crime applies to anyone who receives, sells, possesses, or transfers any firearm and has at least two prior convictions for certain offenses, including the following:

  • A forcible felony
  • Unlawful use of a weapon by a felon
  • Aggravated unlawful use of a weapon
  •  Aggravated discharge of a firearm
  • Vehicular hijacking
  • Gun running
  • Aggravated vehicular hijacking.

An armed habitual criminal offense is a Class X felony and is punished accordingly.

Reckless Discharge of a Firearm

Illinois gun laws prohibit the reckless or indiscriminate use of a gun or firearm. As such, it is a Class 4 felony for anyone other than a peace officer carrying out their duties to discharge a gun in a manner that endangers others. If the gun is fired by the passenger of a moving vehicle with the knowledge and consent of the driver, the driver would also be liable for the offense.

Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm 

Aggravated discharge of a firearm is committed when a person intentionally discharges a firearm at a building that should ordinarily be occupied, a vehicle, or another individual.

The offense is a Class 1 felony, but it becomes a Class X felony if the gun is discharged in the following circumstances:

  • Within 1000 feet of a school, park, or bus
  • In the presence of a teacher
  • In the presence of a police officer
  • In the presence of an EMT / paramedic.

How Chicago Gun Crimes Attorneys at the Hirsch Law Group Can Help

Gun crime convictions in Chicago, Illinois, carry severe penalties that could see you behind bars for a very long time. If you hope to avoid these penalties, you need to fight the charges against you regardless of whether they are first-time gun charges or subsequent ones.

This is where our law firm’s skilled gun crime attorneys come in. We understand that anyone dealing with gun crime charges is fighting for their freedom. Our goal is to help such people get off as lightly as possible – this could mean getting the charges dropped or reduced or getting a reduced sentence if found guilty, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Here are some specific ways we can help with your case:

  • We can critically evaluate the details of your case from the time and manner of your arrest and the evidence against you to ensure that no law was broken and your rights were not violated. If there were any mistakes during the investigation process, we could get your charges dropped on that basis.
  • With our extensive criminal defense experience, we understand how the different types of gun crimes in Illinois work and can help you establish a suitable defense depending on the circumstances of your case.
  • In deserving cases, our skilled attorneys can negotiate an agreeable plea deal on your behalf to minimize your charges or sentence.

With us, there are no bad cases, and every case is worth fighting for. Understandably you might be on the verge of giving up. But we urge you to refuse to go down easily. Let us help you put up a fierce fight that could lead to your freedom.

Speak With an Experienced Weapons Defense Attorney at the Hirsch Law Group Today

When you are facing an Illinois gun crime charge, it is understandable that you feel overwhelmed. You might even be on the verge of giving up. But we urge you not to throw in the towel. A good defense strategy could see your charges reduced or dropped altogether if there was any mistake during the investigation process and/or if you don’t have enough evidence against you.

At the Hirsch Law Group, we understand that every criminal case is unique and requires a unique approach. That’s why our legal team is here to help. We have extensive experience defending clients accused of gun crimes in Illinois and are always ready to fight for your rights.

If you have further questions about defending gun charges in Chicago, Illinois, or you need aggressive legal representation, do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. 

Our experienced gun and weapons charges attorneys are available to answer your questions and represent you all the way. Schedule your free consultation immediately to get started.