Unlawful use of weapons is a criminal offense in Illinois that involves the possession and use of firearms and other dangerous weapons. In the interest of public safety, Illinois law provides various controls on the ability to possess, carry, or use firearms and other dangerous weapons. Any person who commits unlawful use of weapons in Illinois can face confinement and steep criminal fines.
Illinois Definition of Unlawful Use of Weapons
Illinois law at 720 ILCS 5/24-1 establishes the boundaries for unlawful use of weapons. This offense applies to any individual who:
- Sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses, or carries various dangerous weapons, such as switch-blade knives, black-jacks, or brass knuckles;
- Carries on their person or in any vehicle a device capable of distributing noxious liquid gas or a similar substance, with the exception of accepted devices for personal defense;
- Carries or possesses in any vehicle or in a concealed fashion any firearm, outside of approved exceptions such as disassembled transportation;
- Sets a spring gun trap;
- Possesses any device that is intended to silence or muffle the sound of a firearm discharge;
- Sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses, or carries any machine gun that is capable of discharging rounds automatically;
- Carries or possesses any firearm or similarly dangerous weapon at a public gathering or establishment licensed to sell alcohol;
- Carries or possess any firearm on their person or in vehicle while wearing a hood, mark, or similar device to conceal their identity;
- Carries or possesses on their person any firearm in public places, outside of approved exceptions such as disassembled transportation;
- Sells, manufactures, or purchases explosive bullets designed to explode upon impact; or
- Carries or possesses on their person in a government building any stick or club designed for use as a weapon.
Illinois Penalties for Unlawful Use of Weapons
Section 24-1 also details the Illinois penalties for unlawful use of weapons. At a minimum, any person who commits this offense will face Class A misdemeanor charges. The maximum punishment for this type of misdemeanor includes 12 months in county jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
That being said, there are other situations in which unlawful use of weapons becomes a felony crime. For example, it is a Class 4 felony to carry or possess a firearm at public gathering or bar or with a concealed identity. The maximum punishment for this type of felony includes 36 months in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines.
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.