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How Weapons Can Lead to an Armed Violence Charge in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Law

How Weapons Can Lead to an Armed Violence Charge in IllinoisMany criminal charges you can face in Illinois become more serious if you are accused of possessing or using a weapon. Robbery is a Class 2 felony, but armed robbery is a Class X felony. Assault is a Class C misdemeanor, but assault with a deadly weapon can be a Class A misdemeanor or Class 4 felony, depending on the identity of the victim. Illinois considers the presence of a deadly weapon during a crime to be an aggravating offense because of the potential for death or serious injury. With this in mind, Illinois created a criminal charge called armed violence in 2012.

What Is Armed Violence?

Armed violence is the possession of a deadly weapon or discharge of a firearm while committing a felony that is not predicated on using the weapon. For instance, possessing a gun while being arrested for felony drug possession is armed violence, but attempted murder with a gun is a different offense. There are three categories of weapons under the armed violence law:

  • Category I includes firearms that are small enough to be concealed, semiautomatic weapons, and machine guns.
  • Category II includes all other firearms and sharp weapons meant for cutting or stabbing.
  • Category III includes weapons meant for striking, such as a bludgeon or metal knuckles.

Most armed violence charges are Class X felonies with different prison sentencing requirements. Possession of a Category II weapon has a minimum of 10 years in prison, and possession of a Category I weapon has a minimum of 15 years. Discharge of a Category I or II firearm results in a minimum of 20 years in prison. Harming someone by discharging a Category I or II firearm results in 25 to 40 years in prison.

Possession Requirements

When accused of armed violence, one of the possible defenses is that the circumstances did not qualify as the defendant possessing the weapon. A weapon is not considered a threat during a felony arrest if it was broken down, unloaded, or not readily accessible. For instance, a weapon is not accessible if it is on the other side of a room when police enter a residence and the defendant did not move to reach the weapon.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Criminal Defense Lawyer

Though it is legal to own and carry certain weapons in Illinois, there are several situations in which possessing a weapon can get you in trouble with the law. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will challenge weapons charges that are unfounded or violate your civil rights. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+33A&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=86700000&SeqEnd=87100000

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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