Local authorities charged a man from Bloomington, Illinois, with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, according to an article by The Pantagraph.
Official reports indicate that this Illinois man was convicted of robbery in 2020. Then this man allegedly possessed a handgun unlawfully in April of 2022, which triggered the present charges.
At this point, the Illinois man awaits an arraignment scheduled for October 28. In the interim, it seems like a good opportunity to review the Illinois laws against and penalties for unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a felon.
Laws Against Unlawful Use or Possession of Weapon by Felon
720 ILCS 5/24-1.1 furnishes the Illinois laws against unlawful use or possession of weapons by felons. There are two versions of this offense under Illinois law.
The first version of this offense prohibits any person convicted of a felony from knowingly possessing any firearm, ammunition, or other prohibited weapon. It does not matter if the felony conviction occurred in Illinois or elsewhere; this prohibition typically applies regardless. However, there is an exception for individuals granted relief under Section 10 of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act.
The second version of this offense prohibits any person confined in an Illinois penal institution from knowingly possessing any firearm, ammunition, or other prohibited weapon. The perpetrator’s intent or state of mind does not usually matter in this context. An affirmative defense to this offense exists, but if the weapon possession occurred pursuant to any rule, regulation, or directive of the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Penalties for Unlawful Use or Possession of Weapon by Felon
Section 24-1.1 also establishes the penalty structure for unlawful use or possession of weapons by felons. If the perpetrator was not confined within a penal institution, this offense is generally punishable as follows:
- First Offense — Class 3 felony with penalties that can include imprisonment for two to 10 years and criminal fines up to $25,000; or
- Second or Subsequent Offense — Class 2 felony with penalties that can include imprisonment for three to 14 years and criminal fines up to $25,000.
If the perpetrator was confined within a penal institution, the penalty structure becomes more drastic. If such a perpetrator possessed any:
- Prohibited Weapon — It is a Class 1 felony punishable by imprisonment for four to 15 years and criminal fines up to $25,000;
- Firearm/Ammunition/Explosive — It is a Class X felony punishable by imprisonment for six to 30 years and criminal fines up to $25,000; or
- Machine Gun — It is a Class X felony punishable by imprisonment for 12 to 50 years and criminal fines of up to $25,000.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense is, 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 email@example.com or by completing an online form.