Possessing a stolen firearm is a serious criminal charge that comes with major potential penalties.
The crime of possession of a stolen firearm in Illinois is a class 2 felony. If you are convicted of this charge, you could face between three and seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. While probation is also a possible penalty, receiving a sentence of only probation, or outright dismissal, is challenging and requires you to put on a strong criminal defense.
You may think that you have no defenses available to you, especially if the prosecution has evidence of you with the firearm, such as photographs or videos. You could even have acknowledged to the police or prosecution that you had the firearm.
However, possession of a stolen firearm in Illinois requires intent. This means that the prosecution must prove that you knew the firearm was stolen. Perhaps you purchased the firearm and believed the sale to be legitimate.
Duress is another potential defense. You may have been in a situation where someone forced you to use a firearm or face imminent death or serious bodily injury yourself.
A typical example is during an armed robbery. Perhaps the robber told you to take a gun and hold someone at gunpoint or be killed. You could argue that you would have never possessed a stolen firearm unless you thought you were going to be killed.
You have rights during an arrest and a right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure. If the firearm was unconstitutionally seized, you could request that it be excluded as evidence.
Knowing what defenses could be available to you requires a thorough examination of the facts and circumstances of your case. Once your situation is analyzed by a professional, you can begin crafting your defense.