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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 an excellent 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 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 stringent, 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.

Understanding the Severity of Violent Gun Offenses in Illinois

In Illinois, violent offenses involving guns carry severe penalties. This includes any use of a firearm during the commission of a crime, whether it is firing or simply possessing a weapon. These charges can range from misdemeanor to felony offenses depending on the circumstances, resulting in mandatory minimum sentences, hefty fines, and potentially even life imprisonment. It is important to note that a conviction for a violent offense involving a gun can also result in the loss of your right to own or possess firearms in the future, impacting your ability to hunt, participate in shooting sports, or protect yourself and your loved ones.

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

How to Beat a Gun Charge in Illinois

Gun crimes are severe 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:

First-Time Weapon Offender Program

In Illinois, the First Time Weapon Offender Program stands as a beacon of hope for those facing their first weapon charge, offering an alternative to the harsh penalties typically associated with gun-related offenses. 

This program, designed with rehabilitation in mind, allows eligible participants to avoid a conviction on their record by fulfilling specific court-imposed requirements. These may include community service, participation in educational programs, and adherence to strict prohibitions against possessing weapons. Eligibility for this program is contingent upon several factors, including the absence of prior violent crime convictions and the non-involvement of violence in the current offense. Applicants must be 20 years old or younger, have no active orders of protection against them, and must not have previously completed the program.  Successful completion can lead to the dismissal of charges, offering a second chance to those committed to making positive changes in their lives. This initiative reflects Illinois’ commitment to addressing gun violence through means beyond punitive measures, recognizing the potential for rehabilitation and the importance of providing pathways to redemption. For individuals navigating the complexities of a first-time gun charge, understanding and accessing this program can be a critical step toward a brighter future.

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 charges’ severity and circumstances, negotiating a plea bargain may be in your best interest. This can reduce your charges or sentence, especially if this is your first offense or the offense wasn’t violent. Your attorney’s experience handling gun charges can make a significant difference when negotiating with the prosecution.

Seek Alternative Sentencing

Under certain circumstances, alternative sentencing options may be available instead of jail time. This could include probation, community service, treatment programs, or other alternatives to incarceration. An experienced attorney can help you explore these options and advocate for them.

Contact the Hirsch Law Group Today

If you are facing first-time gun charges in Illinois, it is crucial to act quickly and seek legal representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney. The Hirsch Law Group has extensive experience defending clients facing gun charges and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Our attorneys are well-versed in Illinois gun laws and have a proven track record of successfully defending clients against weapons charges. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your case and learn about your legal options. Don’t wait – contact the Hirsch Law Group now to get the help you need.