Articles Posted in Weapons Charges

sawyer-bengtson-279792-copy-200x300Chicago law makes a distinction between merely possessing a firearm illegally and using a legal firearm for illegal purposes. If the crime is of unlawful shooting whilst in possession of an illegal firearm, the penalties are increased. This is because it is considered to be an aggravating factor to use an illegal firearm to commit any crime under the provisions of the handgun law.

To be absolutely clear, a person in Chicago can be prosecuted for both possessing an illegal firearm and using a legal firearm to commit a crime. Because Chicago has been dubbed the “Gun Crime Capital of the World,” the authorities are anxious to ensure that crimes of gun violence are severely punished. That is not to say that Chicago is willing to engage in full gun control.

For example, the illegal possession of a handgun is a Class 4 Felony in Chicago and can carry a term of imprisonment of up to three years. The possession of other firearms is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor, which could lead up to a year in jail as well as a fine of up to $2500. Your lawyers may be able to negotiate a plea to a lesser charge.

a-l-117960-copy-300x198Law enforcement officers are cracking down heavily on carjacking cases in Chicago. The stiff sentence given to the accused in a violent November carjacking is a prime example. Another similar case of carjacking involved the car of a retired cop in Chicago. There have been several such cases in the past year alone.

Carjacking is increasingly becoming a menace in Chicago. The federal authorities are showing a keen interest in punishing the offenders. This further increases the conviction chances for the offenders.

Carjacking Crimes in Chicago

antonio-grosz-148540-copy-300x200Many people in Chicago find it hard to believe that criminals involved in any mass shooting have a chance to defend themselves. This is because of the seriousness of the offenses that result from this crime and the restrictive nature of Chicago gun laws. With the right legal advice, however, an individual charged with a mass shooting can successfully defend his or her case.

With the United States facing the worst mass shootings in the modern history, it is likely that these incidences might stir action on gun control. If you look at Chicago, there were over 4,000 victims of crimes related to guns in 2016 alone. This means that we have to come up with measures that will actually bring a real impact.

History has shown that mass shootings mainly happen in places where victims cannot defend themselves. These include churches, learning institutions, and other places where people are not allowed to carry guns. According to research, all the public shootings in the US have occurred in locations where citizens are banned from carrying guns, except for two cases. In Europe, all the mass shootings have taken place in areas where citizens are banned from carrying guns.

quentin-kemmel-445082-copy-300x200A gun owner’s card (FOID) may be confiscated or seized if one is convicted of a felony or becomes a subject of an order of protection. This is why it is crucial to consult an experienced lawyer if you believe you have a legal case. Following a seizure, you will not only need a reliable defense lawyer on your side, but you will also need someone who understands how to protect your gun possession rights.

Police seize firearms from people who fail to follow the law. However, they sometimes face opposition from firearm owners. Currently, gun control advocates are trying to remove firearms from dangerous offenders while avoiding any activity that might offend the rights of a gun owner. This can obviously cause complications between gun control advocates and those who believe in the right to bear arms. Since 1968, it has been a requirement in Illinois to apply a FOID card to own a firearm. Only law enforcement and military members own firearms without FOID cards.

Generally, a FOID card denial occurs if you get convicted of domestic violence, charged with a felony, for those addicted to narcotics, previous patients in a mental health facility in the past five years, mental or intellectually disabled people, or if one is a subject of court restraint order. FOID cards can also be withdrawn if the owner seems to be able to cause harm to others or to him or herself.

diana-feil-226524-copy-200x300It is a sad fact, but it is still a true one: Gun violence in Chicago, Illinois is steadily climbing higher and higher. The amount of gun crimes taking place in the city is reaching what some consider to be an epidemic level, making residents feel fearful and unsafe. Meanwhile, there are two opposing camps that are warring over the best way to deal with the gun crime rates in the Windy City: Those who feel that more gun control is needed, and those who feel like less is needed. With gun violence on the rise and crime rates at unpleasant numbers, it is making dealing with the law itself increasingly difficult.

The Second Amendment

Until recently, guns could not even be purchased inside of Chicago. The local laws banned the sale of guns within the city limits. However, in 2016, this law was ruled as unconstitutional. Strong advocates of the Second Amendment were thrilled, but those in favor of gun control were not quite so happy with the outcome. Whatever the case, it became a fact of life: Guns were easier to obtain in Chicago. There is little evidence at the moment that gun laws were being broken either before or after this occurred, so the jury is still out on any strong connection.

tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200Few laws have created the angst that is experienced in the stop-and-search era. The basic premise is that if you come from an ethnic minority, then the chances are that you will be more likely to be stripped and searched than a member of the mainstream community, which is primarily white Caucasian in this context. It is a violation of civil liberties. There are numerous reports of these powers being abused.

The law enforcement agencies may hide behind the notion that they are merely engaging in a consensual process, but consensus can never be achieved if one of the parties to the cause is so much more powerful and influential. The power of arrest and charge is particularly compelling to any would-be suspect when he or she is deciding whether or not to resist the arrest. The law enforcement agencies have attempted to report this as a practical matter of people from ethnic minorities committing more crimes more often than their mainstream white Caucasian counterparts. Other social researchers disagree with this premise because it does not account for the impact of the systemic deprivations with which these ethnic minorities have to contend.

Working Towards a Sustainable Model

antonio-grosz-148540-copy-300x200Chicago has been battling gun crime for a long time and legislation is one of the tools available for tackling it. Legislative instrument number 720 ILCS 5/24-1 summarizes the law as it stands today. Nothing demonstrates the complexity of the issues at hand like the regulation of automatic weapons in Chicago. It is not enough to say that possession of such a firearm is illegal; there must also be specific procedures that determine how the courts are going to handle the various cases that come before them. Existing legislation has tended to focus on controlling the sale, possession ,and use of certain weapons in order to prevent or punish criminal behavior.

For the defense attorneys, this remains a double edged sword. On one hand, a defending attorney is able to challenge the prosecution at any of the detailed procedures for proving criminality. However, the prosecutor can also return the favor by selecting any of the following for attack:

  • Purchase

800px-Seized_firearms-300x200One of the most common crimes in Chicago is that of the unlawful discharge of a firearm. This article focuses on some of the aggravating and mitigating features that might influence the sentencing process. It is important for the attorney to note that some of these features are precisely the points of argument that might be used to challenge a finding of guilt or sow seeds of reasonable doubt amongst members of the jury (see the procedures in the Gerardo Hernandez–Rodriguez case). Generally speaking, recklessness without malicious intent is treated more leniently than in situations where the defendant has deliberately gone out of his or her way to use a firearm to commit another crime.

Chicago remains one of the harshest when it comes to gun laws, even though gun crime continues to rise. For the courts all that this trend has achieved is to increase the level of aggression amongst lawyers on both sides of the case. One area of particular interest is the level of injury compared to the original intent of the assailant. Shooting in the air is considerably less serious than shooting at a crowd. Typically, the aggravated form of the crime is automatically upgraded to a felony, which significantly increases the risk of long term custody.

Key Issues in the Pre-Trial Phase

DSC06084-B2The rationale behind the laws relating to unlawful use of a weapon in Chicago are simple. First of all, they are designed to protect the public from harm by making it incredibly difficult and illegal to obtain a firearm. Secondly, the rules must take into account the perspectives of the gun lobby, which aims to take guns out of the hands of criminals whilst allowing unfettered access to the rest of the population. Recently there has been concern about mentally disordered people who may have no criminal record and therefore fully entitled to own a gun until they engage in mass killings. Those who deal with civil rights are not satisfied with the uneasy compromise because according to them the law is never blind in these instances. Ethnic minorities are likely to get stiff punishments for illegally owning a gun and yet when “white” defendants engage in mass murder; every effort is made (led by a compliant media) to find psychological defenses for them.

Preparing to Defend a Case of Unlawful Use of a Weapon

The attorney is expected to engage in what amounts to a background check of their defendants. This was particularly important in a high profile case that involved the gang-related drive-by shooting of Michael Arquero. The victim in this case soon turned into a defendant and the discovery was now all about proving that Arquero was not really as bad as his criminal record indicated. Using aliases he had been able to access weapons, highlighting the weaknesses of the entire system. The defense strategy that was chosen for the occasion was that of self-defense; one which sometimes requires the appearance of “clean hands” under the rules of equity. Following the investigation the prosecutors still accepted the prima facie case that Arquero had shot his attackers in self-defense although it appeared that he had no right to have a gun in the first place.

443px-Chicago_Theatre_2For a long time gun control advocates have been looking for a test locality that would finally confirm to them that access to firearms does not lead to a reduction to crime. Chicago is as good a place as any when it comes to highlighting the contradictions between gun access and crime rates. The first part of this examination must go back to an assessment of whether the gun laws in the state are strict or even stricter than usual when one compares them with the rest of America. Critics are quick to brand the state a Mecca of gun laws whereas state officials are at pains to present their interventions as not only being sensible, but ultimately being essential to the maintenance of good order within the state. As is often his way, Donald Trump has opted to strip down the complex arguments into a sound byte for his presidential campaign, calling Chicago a “disaster” with the “single toughest gun laws.”

Keeping the Guns Away from Trigger-Happy People

The rationale for the Chicago gun laws was to ensure that nobody had access to guns so that they would not end up shooting one another. Unfortunately, criminals have a tendency not to follow the law, so they went ahead and secured guns illegally. As a consequence, Chicago still has one of the highest levels of gun violence despite the fact that the legislature there has done everything in its power to limit access to guns. Those who favor a liberal approach to gun ownership rules argue that the best remedy is to allow every law-abiding citizen to own a gun so that they can fight back when the criminals attack. By contrast, those who are of the view that there should be significant gun control argue that all this would achieve is a war of attrition in which the public and criminals bought more and more guns. There is no shortage of shooting incidents in Chicago to support or dispute any of the standpoints that are mentioned above.