Articles Posted in Weapons Charges

Aggravated discharge of a firearm is a critical offense under Illinois law, specifically addressed by 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2. This statute targets individuals who discharge firearms in ways that pose significant risks to others, such as firing at people, vehicles, or buildings. The law aims to prevent reckless behavior that could lead to injury or death.

Classified as a Class 1 felony, aggravated discharge of a firearm can result in four to fifteen years of imprisonment and fines up to $25,000. If the discharge targets police officers, firefighters, or emergency personnel, it escalates to a Class X felony, with penalties ranging from ten to fifty years in prison. These severe consequences reflect the law’s intent to deter dangerous actions involving firearms.

Beyond immediate penalties, a conviction carries long-term repercussions. A felony record can affect future employment opportunities, restrict housing options, and revoke the right to possess firearms. It can also impact professional licenses and personal relationships, making it a life-altering event.

Armed violence charges in Illinois are serious and carry severe consequences. As a criminal defense attorney with decades of experience, I have seen how these charges can devastate lives. I will explore the intricacies of armed violence under Illinois law, detailing the relevant statutes, penalties, potential defenses, and the criminal case process. Understanding these elements is crucial for anyone facing such charges.

 The Legal Framework of Armed Violence

Armed violence in Illinois is codified under 720 ILCS 5/33A-2. This statute makes it a crime to commit any felony while armed with a dangerous weapon. The presence of a weapon during the commission of a felony significantly escalates the seriousness of the offense, leading to harsher penalties.

As an experienced criminal defense attorney based in Chicago, I have seen the profound impact that an Armed Habitual Criminal charge under 720 ILCS 5/24-1.7(a) can have on individuals and their families. This charge is among the most severe under Illinois law, targeting those with multiple felony convictions found in possession of firearms. Understanding the legal landscape, potential penalties, and available defenses is critical for anyone facing such charges. We will now look at these aspects, aiming to equip you with the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions about your defense.

The Statute and Relevant Legal Provisions

The Illinois Armed Habitual Criminal statute, codified under 720 ILCS 5/24-1.7(a), seeks to prevent repeat offenders from possessing firearms. According to this statute, an individual commits the offense of Armed Habitual Criminal when they possess, carry, or use any firearm after having been convicted of two or more qualifying felonies. These felonies include violent crimes such as murder, robbery, burglary, and aggravated battery, as well as serious drug-related offenses under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, Cannabis Control Act, and Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act.

Navigating the federal criminal justice system can be a daunting task, particularly when facing charges under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). This statute imposes severe penalties for the use or possession of a firearm in connection with a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime. As a seasoned criminal defense attorney in Illinois, I have seen how these charges can drastically impact a person’s life. This article delves into the intricacies of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), exploring the legal definitions, potential penalties, common defenses, and the importance of securing experienced legal representation.

Overview of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) and Related Statutes

18 U.S.C. § 924(c) is a federal statute that targets the use or possession of firearms in conjunction with violent crimes or drug trafficking offenses. The statute mandates mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted, emphasizing the federal government’s commitment to deterring gun violence and drug-related crimes. Specifically, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) states that any individual who uses or carries a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, or who possesses a firearm in furtherance of such crimes, is subject to significant mandatory minimum prison terms.

As an experienced criminal defense attorney in Chicago, I understand the gravity of facing federal charges, especially those involving firearms. One of the most severe and complex charges under federal law is the use of a firearm in a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, governed by 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). This statute imposes harsh penalties and can significantly increase the severity of the underlying offense. In this article, I will provide a detailed overview of the statute, relevant laws, potential penalties, common defenses, and the importance of having skilled legal representation.

Understanding the Statute and Relevant Laws

18 U.S.C. § 924(c) is a federal statute that specifically addresses the use of firearms in connection with crimes of violence or drug trafficking offenses. The statute mandates severe penalties for individuals who use, carry, or possess a firearm during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime. The law is designed to deter the use of firearms in these serious offenses and to impose additional punishment on those who do.

A Marissa, IL, man is facing federal charges for constructing a destructive device (a pipe bomb). According to police, the man intended to use the pipe bomb to blow up his former wife’s vehicle. He admitted to lighting the device and throwing it at people who confronted him inside his trailer park in April. The device, however, failed to detonate. A second suspicious device was also located inside his trailer. 

Possession of an unregistered destructive device is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison. 

Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device

A Chicago man is facing federal charges after a nurse spotted a gun protruding out of his pants. The defendant did not have a valid FOID card or a concealed carry permit. He was taken to the hospital after a car accident. He is now facing several weapons charges related to the illegal possession of a weapon. His bond was set at $60,000, but he did not show up for a court appearance on June 24. His bond was reset at $100,000, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. 

According to the report, a nurse called hospital security when she spotted the gun in the defendant’s pants. The gun was confiscated and placed into a safe. Police were notified. The 9mm handgun was found to have seven rounds of ammunition. This is standard protocol for a hospital when they find a gun on a person. The hospital is not a great place to bring a gun. Because the defendant has two prior weapons-related convictions, he was charged with being an armed habitual criminal in possession of a weapon.

Armed Habitual Criminal in Possession of a Weapon Charges

A 31-year-old Chicago woman pleaded guilty to weapons charges in connection with an arrest related to looting during the George Floyd protests. She was charged with the possession of a firearm by a felon after officers spotted her in the doorway of a bar. The woman was found in possession of about $5,000 in stolen jewelry as well as an illicit handgun. The tags were still attached to the jewelry, which had been looted from a nearby store. 

The defendant had been sentenced previously for aggravated robbery, which is a felony. The felony on her record would bar her from owning a gun. The charge could lead to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. However, her attorney announced they would be looking for a sentence in the three-to-five years range. 

Being a Felon in Possession of a Weapon

The victim in this case shot and wounded one of the suspects in an attempted carjacking. The crime occurred in the 7600 block of Cicero Ave near the Ford City Mall, according to the report. The victim, who was 24, was approached by two suspects, one of whom was carrying a handgun. The suspect allegedly fired at the victim, who produced their own handgun and fired back. Police said the victim was legally authorized to carry a weapon and had a valid FOID/CCL license. The victim is not being charged with a crime in this case.


In this case, the victim has a valid claim of self-defense since the suspect was found carrying a weapon and discharged that weapon. But not all cases of self-defense are so cut-and-dried. In many cases, a victim can be charged with a crime for discharging their weapon in public or even attempted murder. 

It is no secret that landlords conduct background checks and will use evidence of a criminal conviction against you when deciding on your application. For this reason, those with criminal records often find themselves in unsafe neighborhoods in need of personal protection. It is also true that those with criminal records are usually not allowed to own or purchase weapons. In some cases, a weapons charge caused their criminal record in the first place. In these cases, it is often because the individual feels unsafe where they live.

Obviously, this creates a feedback loop of recidivism, and Chicago is starting to catch on to the vicious circles that those in unsafe neighborhoods have to endure. Chicago recently unveiled a housing program that allows those with criminal records to find safe apartments. This reduces the pressure to own weapons.

Entering the Vicious Cycle

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