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How Can Guns Or Weapons Charges Be Enhanced?


Guns or weapons charges can be enhanced in a variety of ways. For example, having a prior felony conviction would be an enhancement. Also the location of where the alleged offense occurred can be an enhancing factor. Possession of a firearm in a correctional institution, at a courthouse, school or public housing property would all be enhancing factors in a gun case.

Does Being Charged With An Additional Crime Impact A UUW Case?

Absolutely. Possession of a weapon or a firearm can be an enhancing factor in other crimes. For instance, if a gun is involved in a robbery, it could be upgraded to an armed robbery. Also other crimes of violence, like home invasion, vehicular hijacking or possession of a controlled substance, can all be upgraded to higher class felonies if it’s alleged that a firearm or a gun was involved.

If A Weapon Or Gun Wasn’t Actually Used, Does That Help A Case?

Not really. Just having the gun is enough to cause the upgrade or enhance the charge. If the gun is fired or someone is actually shot, those are additional upgrading charges and enhancements. Enhancements are significant. For example, the law would require an additional 15 years to be added to whatever the original sentence was just for possessing the gun while committing some crimes of violence. So in many of those instances, the minimum sentence, just for possessing the gun, in addition to the other offense, is 21 years in prison.

UUW or gun charge arrests frequently are made in vehicles, as well as the so-called stop and frisk encounters with police. The thing about these types of scenarios is that they allow a defense attorney to take a close look at the facts of the case to see if any constitutional violations were made by the police. Often gun charges are the results of an illegal search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment; and if the court determines that a police officer found a gun as a result of an unlawful search, often those charges are dismissed. I have prevailed on many UUW and gun cases using this approach.

Is It Advisable To Inform An Officer That You Possess A Weapon?

It is advisable to tell a police officer that you have a firearm in the vehicle if you have a valid concealed carry permit or a valid FOID and the weapon is properly stored. Under any other circumstances, one would be advised to use caution in making any admission to the police because if you admit to having a firearm under other circumstances, that could be interpreted as a waiver of your Fourth Amendment Right, as well as your Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent. It could curtail a defense attorney’s ability to use some of those techniques to later help a defendant in this type of case. Basically, admitting that you have a weapon would give the police the right to search you and your vehicle.

What Are The Penalties And Consequences Associated With A UUW Charge In Illinois?

For a misdemeanor UUW, it’s a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum of one year in jail, but you can also receive court supervision and probation for that. For the felony gun cases, Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon is generally going to be a Class IV felony, and under some circumstances, the individual can receive probation or a prison sentence of one to three years. Possession of a firearm by a felon is a special Class III felony, and that’s a mandatory two to 10 years in prison.

Is UUW A Probationable Offense?

Some gun cases can receive probation but not all. Misdemeanors obviously can. Most felony gun charges are probation-eligible as long as the individual had a valid FOID card. Situations where the person didn’t have a valid FOID card will probably not be eligible for probation, but this area of the law is frequently changing. Also any convicted felons caught with a gun will have a mandatory prison sentence upon conviction.

What Are Some Potential Defenses In UUW Cases?

A big one is the Fourth Amendment, which has to do with illegal search and seizure. So any time somebody is found with a weapon in their vehicle or on their person that comes into play. There is another rule of law called Constructive Possession, and that could be in a vehicle or in a residence. Basically, the concept with constructive possession is if there are multiple people in the general area where the firearm is found, the state has a burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the firearm belonged to a particular individual. When you have multiple individuals that makes it more difficult. This also comes into play when you have multiple people living in the same residence.

I have utilized defenses involving a gun that was in a non-functioning state. Another big issue is whether or not a gun is in a case because you cannot carry a weapon on your person unless it’s in a case and not immediately accessible. Obviously, that is an area of changing law. What is a case, what constitutes a case and what constitutes being immediately accessible? I have used these defenses in UUW and gun cases successfully.

What Sets You Apart In Handling Gun-Related Charges In Illinois?

Experience is probably the most important factor. I have extensive experience handling gun and firearm cases. I’m also a firearm enthusiast and hunter so I am familiar with the various types of guns and the way they operate. I have successfully litigated many gun charges, including cases involving illegal searches. For more information about my success in handling UUW or gun cases, you can go to my courtroom victory page on my website where I have several different gun cases listed there. And I would say that any individual who is in this situation should ask a potential lawyer about their experience. Someone like me would have no problem answering questions and elaborating about the vast number of gun cases that I have litigated because I always believe that it’s best to be an informed consumer when it comes to this.

Additional Information About Gun-Related Charges In Illinois

Weapons are defined, for example, a blackjack, brass knuckles and switchblade knives are illegal weapons. However, stun guns and Tasers can also be considered illegal weapons if they are carried in a place that serves alcohol. Any type of firearm or gun would be a weapon, from revolvers and semi-automatic pistols to hunting rifles and shotguns to assault rifles and tactical shotguns. These are all considered weapons under the statute.

For more information on Enhancement Of Weapons Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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