Weapons charges in Illinois are more serious than you may think. If you are convicted of a weapons charge, you will face fines and even jail time.
These consequences become even more serious if you already have a criminal record and are prohibited from possessing a firearm.
This was recently illustrated in a case involving a Springfield man who is now looking at up to 10 years in prison for illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
Man found guilty after federal trial
The man is only 30 years old and was found guilty by a federal jury of knowingly possessing a firearm. The trial lasted two days.
According to news reports, the man was stopped while driving by Springfield police officers for an unrelated reason. During the traffic stop, a firearm was found in the front seat of the vehicle the man was driving.
The man is scheduled to be sentenced on the charge in June 2023. In addition to 10 years in prison, he faces a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release after serving his sentence.
Cases like this show why putting on a strong and aggressive criminal defense is necessary if you are charged with a weapons offense.
Police officers must have a valid reason to pull you over
There are many potential defenses that could be available to you. For example, in this case, the weapon was found during a routine traffic stop.
Police officers generally cannot pull you over for a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion that you are doing something illegal. Once they do pull you over, there are certain evidentiary rules they must follow before seizing any property found.
If police officers in a case like this had no legal basis for the traffic stop, or engaged in an illegal search of the vehicle and seizing of the firearm, the firearm charge could be dismissed.
Fighting a weapons charge
It is always best to talk with a criminal defense attorney after you are arrested. Do not speak with the cops and assert your right to legal counsel.
An attorney can examine the circumstances of your arrest and help develop any potential defenses.