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First-Time Gun Charges in Illinois: What You Need to Know

Exploring the Implications of a 1st Time Gun Charge in Illinois

If you have been charged for the first time in Illinois with gun charges and have a clean criminal record, you could be eligible for probation if you have a good criminal defense attorney.

Many gun charges in Chicago and the surrounding counties are felony criminal charges. Hiring an experienced gun lawyer can help you get those charges dropped to a misdemeanor under the right circumstances.

If you are caught in possession of a loaded gun and have no FOID card or Conceal and Carry License (CCL), you could face 1-3 years in prison even if you have no prior felony gun conviction.

If you have the required permits, you could still face gun crime charges if you violated location-based firearms restrictions. Not knowing the law will not excuse you from facing criminal gun charges. In Illinois, gun laws are extremely strict, so if you are facing first-time gun charges, you will need an aggressive criminal defense attorney who knows how to navigate the complex criminal justice system.

Types of Gun Charges We Defend

  • Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon

  • Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm

  • Reckless Discharge of a Weapon

  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm

  • Possession of a Deadly Weapon

  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

  • Unlawful Use of a Weapon

  • Armed Robbery

  • Unlawful Sale of a Firearm or Weapon

  • Assault with a Firearm or Weapon

  • Armed Habitual Criminal

  • …and more

What Happens if You Get Caught With Illegal Gun Possession in Illinois?

You could face a felony charge even if you have no criminal record. Depending on the circumstances, you could face one year in county jail, 1 – 4 years in prison, or 3-7 years in prison.

What Is the First Offender Program in Illinois?

In Illinois, the first-offender program is a special legal option for individuals facing their first criminal offense. The program aims to provide an alternative to traditional criminal prosecution and focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment.

The first-offender program allows eligible individuals to avoid a formal conviction and potential incarceration by completing a set of requirements and conditions imposed by the court. These requirements often include the following:

  • Completion of community service

  • Participation in a vocational training program

  • Refrain from having any illicit drug prohibited by the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, Cannabis Control Act, or Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act in their body unless prescribed by a physician

  • Possibility of having to obtain a high school diploma or GED

  • Attendance of counseling sessions

  • Refrain from possessing any dangerous weapon, including firearms

  • Payment of fines, costs, and restitution

Requirements for the First-Time Weapon Offender Program

To be eligible to participate in the First Offender Program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have no prior convictions for a violent crime

  • Violence was not a factor in your circumstances of the crime committed

  • You are 20 years old or younger

  • Have no order of protection against you

  • Have never completed the first-time gun offender program prior

What Are the Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Weapon Without a Permit in Illinois?

  • If you have a valid FOID card – Up to 1 year in jail

  • If you do not have a FOID card and the gun was loaded – you have 1 – 3 years in prison

  • If the gun was unloaded  – Probation or 1 – 3 years in prison

How to Beat a Gun Charge in Illinois

Gun crimes are very serious charges in Illinois, with steep penalties. If you’re facing a weapons charge, it’s critical to understand Illinois law and your rights when dealing with such serious allegations. Here are some strategies to consider when trying to beat a gun charge in Illinois:

  • Retain an Experienced Attorney: Engage the services of a seasoned attorney with a solid background in handling weapons charges in Illinois. The Hirsch Law Group is experienced in navigating the nuances of Illinois criminal law and can help you understand your rights and develop a solid defense strategy.

  • Examine the Circumstances of the Arrest: Investigate if the Illinois State Police or other law enforcement agencies violated your constitutional rights during the arrest or search. If there were any legal missteps, your attorney could move to suppress the evidence, leading to the charges being dismissed.

  • Negotiate a Plea Bargain: Depending on the severity of the charges and your circumstances, it may be in your best interest to negotiate a plea bargain. This can reduce your charges or sentence, especially if this is your first offense or if the offense wasn’t violent.