Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

The state of Illinois takes weapons crimes very seriously. Unlawful possession of a firearm, for example, may be a felony offense punishable by significant fines and incarceration in state prison. What many people do not realize is that, in order to legally own a firearm in Illinois, you must obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card, and to carry a concealed firearm, you must have a permit. The authorities vigorously prosecute any violation of these laws.

If you have been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, you may be worried about the penalties that could follow a conviction. If you are the sole provider for your family, you may not know how they will survive if you are sent away. Chicago weapons lawyer Michael O’Meara has spent time in his career as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, which gives him the ability to anticipate the prosecution’s strategy.

At O’Meara Law, our goal is to reduce the stress of confronting the criminal justice system while maximizing your chances of obtaining a good case outcome.

To find out how we can protect your rights, call 312-909-0706 today.

Understanding the Crime of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Unlawful possession of a firearm may be committed by certain people in certain situations. You may be found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm if:

  • You are under 18 and possess any firearm of a size that may be concealed
  • You are under 21, have been convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense or found to be a delinquent and have any firearms or ammunition in your possession
  • You are a narcotic addict and have any firearms or ammunition in your possession
  • You have been a patient of a mental institution within the past five years and have any firearms or ammunition in your possession
  • You possess any explosive bullet, which is the projectile portion of ammunition which contains an explosive charge which will explode upon contact with human or animal flesh

The law does not prohibit a person under 18 from participating in lawful recreational activities with a firearm, such as shooting at targets at ranges or hunting within the Illinois Wildlife Code.

Criminal and Collateral Penalties of Conviction

Unlawful possession of a firearm may be classified as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony, depending on the facts of your case. You may also be charged with more than one instance of the crime for each firearm or piece of ammunition you possess. Thus, if you have 10 bullets in your possession, you may be charged with 10 crimes. Penalties for these crimes include:

  • Class A Misdemeanor – up to one year in jail, up to two years of probation, and a fine of up to $2,500
  • Class 4 Felony – one to three years in prison, up to 30 months of probation, and significant fines

In addition to these criminal penalties, your conviction for unlawful possession may result in any of the following collateral consequences:

  • Reduced employment prospects because of your criminal record
  • Inability to apply to reputable to colleges or universities
  • Difficulties obtaining financial aid if you do get accepted to a school
  • Trouble qualifying for welfare or housing assistance
  • For immigrants, possible deportation

How O’Meara Law Can Help

Being accused of such a serious crime can be terrifying. Fortunately, there are a number of defenses that a skilled Chicago weapons crime lawyer can employ on your behalf. At O’Meara Law, we understand the stress and fear you may feel when you get charged with a crime. Our goal is to give you the best chances possible of obtaining a good case outcome while reducing the anxiety of going through complicated court hearings and procedures.

If you’re ready to have a strong advocate in your corner, call 312-909-0706 now to for a free and confidential consultation.