Illinois Unlawful Use of a Pistol, Revolver, Stun Gun / Taser or Other Firearm

The Law – 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(4)

A person commits unlawful use of weapon when the person, knowingly:

  1. Carries or possesses in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person except when on his land or in his own abode, legal dwelling, or fixed place of business, or on the land or in the legal dwelling of another person as an invitee with that person's permission, any:
    1. pistol
    2. revolver
    3. stun gun or taser
    4. or other firearm, except that this subsection (a) (4) does not apply to or affect transportation of weapons that meet one of the following conditions:
      1. are broken down in a non-functioning state; or
      2. are not immediately accessible; or
      3. are unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card.

Gun charges have become much more prevalent in the recent past, as gun violence increases in Illinois. The public, the lawmakers, and the prosecutors are demanding more accountability for gun crimes and harsher sentencing for person who violate gun laws. Therefore, now more than ever, with penalties increased for violations, you need attorneys who are experienced not only in the gun laws, but also in the law of search and seizure – for it may be, depending on the facts of your case, that the seizure of the weapon by law enforcement was a violation of your 4th Amendment rights under the United States Constitution. We have successfully had gun charges dismissed due to an illegal search by the police; or an illegal stop or search of a vehicle by police.

As with all criminal cases, the State has the burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, as to all elements of the offense – including that a person “knowingly” possessed the weapon, as well as the fact that the person actually “possesses” the weapon.

The Sentence

SIMPLE VIOLATION OF (a)(4)

Class A Misdemeanor – 364 DAYS MAX

Probation possible?– YES

FOR A PERSON CONVICTED OF A SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT VIOLATION OF (a)(4)

Class 3 Felony – 3-7 years

Probation possible?– yes

IF VIOLATION OCCURRED IN ANY OF THE PLACES LISTED BELOW:

Class 3 Felony – 3-7 YEARS
Probation possible? - YES

  • in any school, regardless of the time of day or the time of year,
  • in residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development,
  • in a public park,
  • in a courthouse,
  • on the real property comprising any school, regardless of the time of day or the time of year,
  • on residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development,
  • on the real property comprising any public park,
  • on the real property comprising any courthouse,
  • in any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a school to transport students to or from school or a school related activity,
  • in any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a public transportation agency, or
  • on any public way within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any school, public park, courthouse, public transportation facility, or residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development.

Probation possible? - YES

Success Story: We have successfully defended persons at trial who have been found “not guilty” of this offense because -- based upon our evidence, our cross-examination of police, and our arguments – the State was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that our client was actually, under the law, in “possession” of a weapon.

When you need a criminal defense attorney, you should hire a lawyer who is experienced, aggressive, and will do the work it takes to get the best result for you. We leave no stone unturned in our effort to do the best job we can for a client, and get the best result possible. We are experienced, aggressive, knowledgeable, and detail-oriented criminal defense attorneys We represent clients in Orland Park, Tinley Park, Joliet, Lockport, Homer Glen, New Lenox, Oak Forest, Plainfield, Romeoville, and all other cities in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.

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James A. Payonk, Jr.

10705 W 159th St.
Orland Park, Illinois 60467

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