Given that gun possession and trafficking is becoming a bigger and bigger problem across Illinois, police are cracking down on gun crimes throughout the state—including in and around Wheaton and DuPage County. Given that Illinois has some of the harshest gun laws in the country, the penalties upon conviction are equally serious. This is especially true for individuals who are found guilty or convicted of buying guns that have been imported to the State of Illinois illegally. The same holds true for the individuals who are selling these firearms.
If you have been arrested or charged with illegal gun possession, gun trafficking, or some other gun-related charge in Illinois, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer representing you throughout your criminal case. A conviction of a gun crime in the state can mean heavy fines, incarceration, and a criminal record that you cannot expunge.
The skilled Wheaton and DuPage County, Illinois criminal defense lawyers at Martin & Kent, LLC can help you come up with a good legal defense to use in court to challenge—and hopefully, beat—your gun charge.
Gun Laws in Illinois
Illinois gun laws are some of the toughest in the country—most especially, those laws related to gun trafficking. Illinois prohibits all individuals from doing the following:
- Knowingly buying or attempting to buy a firearm while intending to deliver the firearm to an individual who is not allowed to possess one (such as a minor)
- Knowingly buying or attempting to buy a gun after providing misleading or otherwise false information on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives record
- Materially changing or forging a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID card) while intending to use the card to purchase ammunition or a firearm
- Possessing a FOID card with full knowledge that it has been forged or somehow altered, and while intending to use the card to purchase ammunition or a firearm
- Intentionally removing, altering, or destroying the serial number posted by the importer or manufacturer on the firearm
- Knowingly possessing a firearm with a serial number that has been altered, removed, or otherwise destroyed
- Delivering a firearm to someone else, with full knowledge that it was stolen and while knowing that the recipient is not entitled to possess the firearm in question
Potential Penalties for Wheaton and DuPage County, Illinois, Gun Charges
Gun charges in Illinois carry steep penalties along with them, including fines and jail time. To receive a criminal penalty, a judge or jury must first find you guilty or convict you of a gun charge, such as illegal gun possession or gun trafficking. By way of example, the potential penalties for gun trafficking in Illinois include:
- An individual who brings a gun (or several guns) into Illinois without being in possession of a properly issued FOID card—and who intends to sell or deliver the firearm(s) within the state—can be found guilty of a Class 1 felony. This can subject the offender to a maximum of 20 years’ incarceration for a first offense. A second or subsequent gun trafficking conviction can result in 30 years of incarceration in the State.
- An individual who brings a gun into the State with ammunition, he or she can be found guilty or convicted of a Class X felony. This can result in a prison sentence of between six and 30 years, a maximum fine of $25,000, as well as a minimum three-year period of parole. Moreover, the offender is not eligible to obtain a period of criminal probation.
Defending a Gun Charge in Court
To convict you of a gun charge, the Illinois prosecutor must be able to prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. A criminal defense lawyer in Wheaton or DuPage County, Illinois may be able to question whether the prosecutor met his or her burden and may be able to assert a defense to the charge on your behalf.
To beat a gun charge in Illinois, your lawyer may be eligible to raise one or more of the following defenses on your behalf in court:
- Alibi – Your lawyer may be able to allege that you were someplace else at the time of an alleged incident involving an Illinois firearm.
- Lack of ownership – Your lawyer may be able to argue that you did not own the firearm in question.
- Possession of a permit – Your lawyer might be able to contend that you had the required permit to carry or transport a firearm in the State of Illinois.
- Improper police tactics – You may be able to contend that the police used improper questioning tactics when they apprehended you. For example, the police might have rendered insufficient Miranda warnings, engaged in an illegal search or seizure of your home or person, or otherwise violated your constitutional rights under the Fourth or Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. If that is the case, any evidence obtained as a result may be suppressed at your criminal trial and could lead to a complete dismissal of your gun charge.
Call a Wheaton and DuPage County, Illinois, Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you currently face a gun possession or gun trafficking charge in the State of Illinois, there is too much riding on the line for you to try and defend yourself. When selecting a criminal defense lawyer to represent you, you want someone who routinely handles gun charges and who takes them to trial on a regular basis. Lawyers who are routinely in the courtroom have a certain rapport with prosecutors and are more likely to obtain a favorable plea deal on your behalf.
The criminal defense lawyers at Martin & Kent, LLC are ready and willing to offer you result-oriented, thorough representation in the courtroom today. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with an experienced Wheaton and DuPage County, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, please call our free 24-hour hotline at (630) 474-8000 today.