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
Being a felon in possession of a weapon is a federal charge. In other words, the charge is filed by the federal—as opposed to state—government. The statute can be found in 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The crime is committed when an individual with a felony on their record possesses, ships, or transports a gun. Being a felon in possession of a weapon is considered a class-D felony under federal law.
Federal charges generally work on a point system. Anyone convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm would be assigned a base offense level somewhere between 12 and 26 points. That carries a sentencing guideline range somewhere between 10 and 78 months in prison. However, aggravating or mitigating circumstances can be taken into account. On average, those charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon serve somewhere between 46 and 75 months behind bars.
Armed Career Criminals
Under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), an individual found in possession of a weapon can be assigned a minimum 15-year sentence on the charges of possessing a weapon. In order to establish this, the government must prove that the individual has three prior state or federal convictions for violent felonies or major drug offenses.
In these cases, a violent felony is defined as one constituting a threat, attempt, or the actual use of coercive force against another person. These can include burglary, arson, extortion, armed robbery, and similar crimes with an element of coercive force. In terms of drug offenses, ACCA is triggered by a drug arrest that carries a sentence of 10 years or more behind bars.
In these cases, the government must establish that the offender was in possession of the weapon at the time of their arrest. This particular defendant would only need one more felony arrest to be charged as an armed career criminal.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
David Freidberg represents the interests of Chicago residents who are facing serious criminal charges. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your defense immediately.