On Sunday, May 2nd, the Bloomington Police Department responded to reports of reckless driving near the 700 block of North East Street. When officers attempted to stop a passenger vehicle, the driver sped off at approximately 100 miles per hour.
Shortly thereafter, police officers received a report of a crashed vehicle on North Center Street by Illinois Route 9. The driver apparently crashed into a bus after driving through a red light. Police officers also recovered a loaded firearm as part of their investigation.
As a result of this incident, the Illinois man faces criminal charges for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and several other offenses. To understand the potential consequences of these charges, it will be useful to review an applicable Illinois statute.
Illinois Definition of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon
The Illinois definition of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon appears at 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6. There are two elements to this offense under Illinois law. First, the alleged offender must knowingly carry a firearm on their person, in their vehicle, or in public — without legal authorization or permission.
Second, there must be one or more aggravating factors present during the offense. The factors that qualify under Section 24-1.6 include but are not limited to:
- The firearm was uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible;
- The person possessing the firearm did not have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card;
- The person was engaged in the commission or attempted commission of a separate crime; or
- The person possessing the firearm had an order of protection issued against them in the previous 24 months.
Illinois Penalty for Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon
Section 24-1.6 also furnishes the Illinois penalty for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. At a minimum, this offense is charged as a Class 4 felony. A conviction at that level can result in a prison sentence between 12 and 36 months as well as criminal fines up to $25,000.
On the second or subsequent offense, however, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon becomes a Class 2 felony. A conviction at that level can result in a prison sentence between 36 and 84 months as well as criminal fines up to $25,000.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.