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Joliet Unlawful Use of a Weapon Attorney

Unlawful Use of a Weapon Lawyer – Will County & Grundy County

If you have been charged with unlawful use of a weapon in Illinois, it is important to take your situation seriously and seek the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The consequences of a weapons charge can be severe, and a conviction can have a significant impact on your life, including fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba understands the gravity of these charges, and he is committed to defending his clients' rights to the fullest extent possible.

Unlawful use of a weapon is a serious criminal offense in Illinois, and the law defines it as the possession, sale, manufacture, purchase, or carrying of any firearm, stun gun, or taser in violation of the law. This charge can be applied to a variety of situations, including the possession of a weapon without a valid FOID card, carrying a weapon in a prohibited location, or using a weapon in a manner that endangers others.

As a former Will County prosecutor, Attorney Jack Zaremba has extensive experience representing clients charged with unlawful use of a weapon. He understands the complexities of these cases, and he will work tirelessly to build a strong defense on your behalf. Our team will investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest, review all available evidence, and develop a strategy tailored to your unique situation.

We are committed to protecting your rights throughout the legal process, and we will work to ensure that you receive fair treatment under the law. Our team will advocate on your behalf in court, negotiate with prosecutors to seek the best possible outcome, and explore all possible options for reducing or dismissing your charges.

We understand that facing criminal charges can be an overwhelming and stressful experience. We are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate this difficult time. With our help, you can be confident that you are receiving the highest level of legal representation possible.

If you are facing charges for unlawful use of a weapon in Illinois, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your legal options. Contact us today to take the first step toward protecting your rights and your future.

When Is Unlawful Use of a Weapon (UUW) Considered a Misdemeanor?

Illinois law (ILCS 720 5/24-1) states that the following actions are classified as unlawful use of weapons:

  • Purchasing, selling, manufacturing, or possessing weapons such as brass knuckles, throwing stars, switchblades, blackjacks, bludgeons, or sling shots
  • Possessing or carrying daggers, stilettos, broken bottles, tasers, stun guns, tasers, or other similar weapons with the intent to use them against someone else in violation of the law
  • Setting and using spring gun
  • Possessing or using weapons that launch or dispense tear gas
  • Carrying firearms in public, including in a vehicle, if a weapon is immediately accessible, is not broken down or taken apart so that it cannot function, is kept loaded without being in a locked case, or otherwise violates Illinois concealed carry weapons laws
  • Purchasing, selling, or manufacturing explosive bullets
  • Carrying a blunt weapon such as a billy club or bludgeon in a local, state, or federal government building

These violations may result in Class A misdemeanor charges. Those who are convicted of Class A misdemeanors may face fines of up to $2,500 and a maximum sentence of one year in a county jail. Repeat offenders may face felony charges for unlawful use of weapons.

What Constitutes a Felony UUW Charge?

You may be charged with a Class 4 felony for unlawful use of weapons if you commit one of the following violations:

  • Carrying a gun, stun gun, or another dangerous weapon in a business where alcoholic beverages are sold, at public gatherings that have been authorized by a local or state government, or at an event in a public location where people are required to pay an admission fee
  • Carrying a gun or another type of dangerous weapon concealing your identity by wearing a hood or mask

A Class 4 conviction may lead to a sentence of one to three years in a state prison, as well as a fine of as much as $25,000.

UUW may be charged as a Class 3 Felony if you are accused of one or more of the following offenses:

  • Possessing a silencer
  • Carrying, purchasing, selling, or manufacturing a rifle with a barrel that is less than 16 inches long or a shotgun with a barrel that is shorter than 18 inches
  • Possessing, purchasing, selling, or manufacturing a bomb, grenade, or other type of explosive

If you are convicted of a Class 3 felony, you could be sentenced to two to five years in prison, and you may be fined as much as $25,000.

Class 2 felony charges may apply if you are accused of possessing, carrying, selling, purchasing, or manufacturing a machine gun or another type of automatic firearm. If you are convicted of this offense, you could face a sentence of three to seven years in prison and fines of as much as $25,000. If you had a loaded machine gun on your person or in a part of your vehicle where it was accessible, you may be charged with a Class X felony, which carries a sentence of six to 30 years in prison and possible fines of up to $25,000.

Any offenses involving the unlawful use of a weapon that took place within 1,000 feet of a school, public park, courthouse, or public housing development may result in criminal charges being increased by one level. For example, if you are accused of carrying a gun while concealing your identity, and you were in a public park at the time of the alleged offense, a UUW charge may be increased from a Class 4 felony to a Class 3 felony.

Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon

Illinois law (ILCS 720 5/24-1.6(3)) states that aggravated UUW charges may apply if you were in possession of a firearm while you were not on your own property, and one of the following is true:

  • The gun in question was loaded, uncased, and easily accessible
  • The gun was unloaded and was not in a locked case, and ammunition was easily accessible
  • Regardless of whether a gun was loaded or unloaded, you did not have a valid FOID card in your possession
  • You had previously adjudicated delinquent in a juvenile crime case
  • You are accused of violating Illinois drug laws at the time of the alleged offense
  • You were subject to a domestic violence order of protection within the previous two years
  • You were under 21 years old at the time of the alleged offense
  • You are accused of a misdemeanor offense involving violence or the threat of violence at the time of the alleged offense

If you are accused of aggravated UUW, you may face Class 4 felony charges, and you could potentially be sentenced to up to three years in prison and fines up to $25,000. A second offense of aggravated UUW is usually charged as a Class 3 felony, and you could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison. If you possessed more than one firearm, you may face separate aggravated UUW charges for each weapon in your possession at the time of the alleged offense.

How Do You Defend Against Unlawful Use of Weapon Charges in Illinois?

If you are facing unlawful use of weapon charges in Illinois, there are several possible defenses you can use to fight the charges. These may include:

  • Lack of knowledge – You can argue that you did not know that you were carrying a weapon or that you were unaware that the weapon was illegal to possess. For example, you might have borrowed a bag from a friend, not realizing that it contained a weapon.
  • Self-defense – If you were carrying a weapon for self-defense purposes, you might be able to argue that you had a reasonable fear for your safety or that you were protecting someone else from harm.
  • Unlawful search and seizure – If the police found the weapon during an illegal search or otherwise violated your rights, you might be able to have the evidence thrown out of court.
  • Invalid arrest – If the police did not have a lawful reason for arresting you, you might be able to have the charges against you dismissed.
  • Second Amendment rights – You may argue that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you the right to bear arms and that the charges against you are a violation of your constitutional rights.

It is important to remember that each case is unique, and the best defense strategy will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. It is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Contact a Joliet Unlawful Use of Weapon Attorney

Attorney Jack L. Zaremba understands the rules that the police must follow to search your car, home, or business. If you are facing UUW or aggravated UUW charges, contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. for help. Our firm is dedicated to protecting your rights and achieving the best outcome on your case as quickly and efficiently as possible. As a former Will County prosecutor, Attorney Zaremba has the courtroom trial experience you can count on. Call us today at 815-740-4025 to set up a free consultation.

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