In Illinois and throughout the U.S., people have the constitutional right to bear arms. However, that does not mean the possession of firearms and other weapons is unregulated. Illinois prohibits the possession of certain kinds of weapons outright and requires gun owners to obtain a Firearm Owners ID card (FOID) in order to be in compliance with state law. If you have been convicted of a felony in Illinois or another state, your FOID can be revoked, and future applications for an FOID can be denied. You may also face serious criminal penalties if you are found to be in unlawful possession of a weapon with a previous felony conviction on your record.
What Types of Weapons Are Prohibited for Convicted Felons?
As with all people in the State of Illinois, convicted felons are prohibited from knowingly possessing certain kinds of dangerous weapons under any circumstances, including bludgeons, metal knuckles, throwing stars, and switchblades. However, convicted felons are, under most circumstances, also prohibited from possessing any kind of firearm or ammunition, even those that are legally permitted in Illinois under other circumstances. The only exception is a situation in which a felon has successfully appealed for relief in court or with the Director of the Illinois State Police.
Consequences for a Felon’s Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
The basic sentence for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon in Illinois is a Class 3 felony, which can include between 2 and 10 years in prison. For repeat offenses, the sentence increases to a Class 2 felony, and the length of imprisonment increases to between 3 and 14 years. However, under certain circumstances, a first offense can be charged as a Class 2 felony. This includes cases in which the offender’s prior conviction was for:
A violation involving a deadly weapon or FOID
A Class 2 or higher felony related to cannabis, methamphetamine, or a controlled substance.
Unlawful possession of a weapon while on parole or under supervised release is also a Class 2 felony, and possession of a machine gun by a felon is a Class X felony, with a possible penalty of 30 or more years in prison.
Contact a Chicago Weapons Charges Defense Attorney
The threat of another conviction after you already have a felony record can severely damage your future. At Hartsfield Law, we can provide you with the defense you need to fight criminal weapons charges, including in cases involving unknowing possession and illegal search and seizure. Call us today at 312-345-1700 for a free consultation with our Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer.