Weapon Offenses | Lake County Criminal Defense Attorney

The HoffmanLaw Office is a Lake County, Illinois criminal defense law firm that defends clients charged with unlawful use of a weapon ("UUW"), as well as aggravated unlawful use of a weapon ("Agg. UUW"), in the Lake County criminal courts. We have almost twenty years' experience handling serious criminal cases in the Lake County criminal court system and at the criminal courthouse in Waukegan.

We also handle the Lake County criminal defense of clients facing other weapon-based offenses charged under Illinois law: Possession of a weapon by a felon, F.O.I.D. card violations, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and reckless discharge of a firearm. We understand the issues in your Lake County weapon-related criminal case. We are ready to devise effective, time-proven strategies to seek a positive outcome in your defense.


Although in some instances it can be charged as a felony, in most circumstances the offense of unlawful use of a weapon is charged as a class A misdemeanor offense. In comparison, the offense of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon is always a felony offense.

Additionally, the crime of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon typically alleges the commission of the offense of unlawful use of a weapon, but also alleges additional facts. These additional facts elevate the offense of unlawful use of a weapon to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon because they make the former offense more serious.


The crime of unlawful use of a weapon can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the circumstances of your case.

All misdemeanor level UUW offenses are punishable as class A misdemeanors, with potential penalties of up to a $2,500 fine and up to 364 days in jail.

Felony UUW charges can range from class 4 all the way up to class 2 felony offenses.

There are a number of different varieties of class A misdemeanor unlawful possession of weapon offenses. They include:

Pistols, Handguns, Firearms, Stun Guns and Tasers: In Vehicle or Concealed on Person

Carrying or possessing a pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm in a vehicle or concealed on your person, except when you are on your own land or in your home or place of business, or when you are on the land or in the home of someone else as an invitee and with their permission, is a class A misdemeanor offense. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(4).

Exceptions to this law exist to allow the lawful transportation of weapons that are in a broken down and non-functioning state, or are not immediately accessible, or are unloaded and enclosed in a case and are being transported by a person who has a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card, or are carried or possessed in accordance with the Firearm Concealed Carry Act by someone who has a currently valid license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.

Switchblades, Brass Knuckles, Blugeons, and Throwing Stars

Selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing or carrying any bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles, throwing star, switchblade knife, or ballistic knife is a class A misdemeanor offense. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(1).

As can be seen, merely possessing any of these listed items is illegal in the State of Illinois.

Intent to Unlawfully Use a Dangerous Weapon Against Another

If you have the intent to use it unlawfully against another person, it is a class A misdemeanor offense to carry or possess a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stilleto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(2).

Pistols, Revolvers, Stun Guns and Tasers: Possession on Public Lands

It is also a class A misdemeanor offense to carry or possess on your person a pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm while you are on any public street or other public lands within the corporate limits of a city, village or incorporated town, unless you are an invitee thereon or therein for the purpose of the display of such weapon or the lawful commerce in weapons. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(10).

Exceptions to this law permit the transportation of such weapons in these areas under certain conditions. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(10).

In some cases, the offense of unlawful use of a weapon, although most frequently charged as a class A misdemeanor, can be charged as a more serious felony offense. Some of these situations include:

Concealing One's Identity

Unlawful use of a weapon can be charged as a felony in certain cases. It is a class 4 felony for someone to carry on their person any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or firearm while hooded, robed or masked in such a way as to conceal their identity. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(9). It is also a class 4 felony to possess a firearm, stun gun or taser or other deadly weapon in any place licensed to sell intoxicating beverages. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(8).

Sawed Off or Shortened Barrels, Silencers

Possession of any rifle with a barrel of less than 16 inches in length or a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length is a class 3 felony offense. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(7)(ii). It is also a class 3 felony to possess any device or attachment of any kind used to silence the report of any firearm. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(6).

Machine Guns

Possession of a machine gun is a class 2 felony offense. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(7)(i). A "machine gun" is defined as any weapon that shoots or is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot automatically more than one shot without manually reloading by a single function of the trigger, including the frame or receiver of any such weapon. Possessing a machine gun in the passenger compartment of a vehicle, or on the person while the weapon is loaded, is a class X felony offense.


The offense of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon ("Agg. UUW") differs from the offense of UUW in a number of different ways.

First, whereas UUW often is punishable as a misdemeanor, the offense of Agg. UUW always is a felony offense. Second, the offense of Agg. UUW is based on the offense of UUW but also includes additional factors.

It is the inclusion of these additional "aggravating" factors in the definition of the offense of Agg. UUW that raises it to a felony level offense.

Just as the offense of UUW deals with possession of weapons in vehicles or in a concealed manner, or on public streets or public lands, the offense of Agg. UUW punishes these same acts.

If you're accused of having committed either of those acts in conjunction with one of the additional acts listed below, you will be charged with a felony Agg. UUW offense.

Aggravated UUW Flowchart

Weapon is Concealed on Your Person or in a Vehicle

•  Carrying a pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm

•   On your person or in any vehicle or concealed on your person

Carrying a Weapon on a Public Street or on Public Lands

•  Carrying or possessing a pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm

•   On your person on any public street, alley or public lands in a city, village or town

•   Except as invited there to display such weapon or engage in the lawful commerce in weapons, or except when on your own land or in your own home or business, or except when you are on the land or in the home of another person as an invitee with that person's permission.

-AND-
Uncased, Loaded and Immediately Accessible

The firearm, other than a pistol, revolver, or handgun, possessed was uncased, loaded and immediately accessible at the time or the offense. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(A).

-OR-
No Concealed Carry Permit

The pistol, revolver, or handgun possessed was uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible at the time of the offense and the person possessing the pistol, revolver, or handgun had not been issued a currently valid license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(A-5).

-OR-
Ammunition Immediately Accessible

The firearm, other than a pistol, revolver, or handgun, possessed was uncased, unloaded, and the ammunition for the weapon was immediately accessible at the time of the offense See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(B).

-OR-
Uncased, Unloaded, Ammo Immediately Accessible, No Permit

The pistol, revolver, or handgun possessed was uncased, unloaded, and the ammunition for the weapon was immediately accessible at the time of the offense and the person possessing the pistol, revolver, or handgun has not been issued a currently valid license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(B-5).

-OR-
No F.O.I.D. Card

The person possessing the firearm has not been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(C).

-OR-
Prior Felony-Level Juvenile Adjudication of Delinquency

The person possessing the weapon was previously adjudicated a delinquent minor under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 for an act that if committed by an adult would be a felony See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(D).

-OR-
Committing Misdemeanor Drug Offense

The person possessing the weapon was engaged in a misdemeanor violation of the Cannabis Control Act, in a misdemeanor violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, or in a misdemeanor violation of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(E).

-OR-
Subject of Recent Order of Protection

The person possessing the weapon had an order of protection issued against him or her within the previous 2 years See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(G).

-OR-
Misdemeanor Involving Threat of Violence

The person possessing the weapon was engaged in the commission or attempted commission of a misdemeanor involving the use or threat of violence against the person or property of another See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(H).

-OR-
Prior Felony-Level Juvenile Adjudication of Delinquency

The person possessing the weapon was under 21 years of age and in possession of a handgun, unless the person under 21 is engaged in lawful activities under the Wildlife Code See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(I).


The offense of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon differs from the offense of unlawful use of a weapon in that, whereas the offense of unlawful use of a weapon criminalizes the use or possession of certain types of weapons in certain places, the offense of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon punishes the possession of certain types of weapons by a specific class of people: convicted felons.

What type of conduct does this law punish?

It is illegal in the State of Illinois, if you have been convicted of a felony in the State of Illinois or in any other jurisdiction, for you to possess on or about your person or on your land or in your home or business any weapon listed in Illinois' unlawful use of weapons statute (725 ILCS 5/24-1) or any firearm or firearm ammunition. See,720 ILCS 5/24-1.1.

How is this offense punished?

The offense of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon carries stiff penalties. A first violation of this law is a class 3 felony offense. A second or subsequent violation of this law is a class 2 felony offense with a mandatory sentence of between 3 and 14 years in prison.

In other aggravated circumstances, the offense of possession of a weapon by a felon becomes even more serious and subject to even greater penalties, almost all of which include mandatory prison sentences. Some of these circumstances include if you were previously convicted of a forcible felony, if you are on parole or mandatory supervised release, or if you possess a machine gun. See,720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(e).

A HoffmanLaw Criminal Defense Attorney is Ready to Defend Your Case

If you are charged with the offense of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon in Lake County, Illinois criminal court, Lake County criminal defense attorney Matt Hoffman has the experience necessary to very effectively defend your case. The HoffmanLaw Office understands the seriousness of the allegations against you. We will work hard to seek a positive resolution of the charges you face.


In order to lawfully acquire or possess a firearm, firearm ammunition, stun gun or taser in the State of Illinois, you must have in your possession a Firearm Owner's Identification Card previously issued in your name by the Department of State Police. See, 430 ILCS 65/2(a)(1) and (2).

Penalties for No F.O.I.D. Card and Expired F.O.I.D. Card

Possession of a firearm, firearm ammunition, stun gun or taser without a F.O.I.D. card ["No F.O.I.D."] carries varying degrees of punishment based on the circumstances of the alleged offense.

Initially, the law makes a distinction between people charged with No F.O.I.D. who were otherwise eligible to obtain a F.O.I.D. card but never did so, and people who once had a validly-issued F.O.I.D. card but whose card is expired.

•  If You Never Had a F.O.I.D. Card

If you are charged with No F.O.I.D. and you never had a F.O.I.D. card but were otherwise eligible to obtain one, you are charged with a class A misdemeanor offense. A second or subsequent such offense is a class 4 felony. See, 430 ILCS 65/14(b).

•  If Your F.O.I.D. Card Is Expired

If, alternatively, you are charged with no F.O.I.D. and your F.O.I.D. card was expired for six months or less and you are not otherwise disqualified from owning, purchasing or possessing firearms, then you will be charged with a petty offense. See, 430 ILCS 65/14(a-5). If your F.O.I.D. card is more than six months expired and you are not otherwise disqualified from renewing it, you will be charged with a class A misdemeanor.See, 430 ILCS 65/14(a).

Penalties when Your F.O.I.D. is Revoked or when You are F.O.I.D. Ineligible

In the following situations, when it is based on possession of a firearm, No F.O.I.D. is a class 3 felony offense: Your F.O.I.D. card is revoked See, 430 ILCS 65/14(c)(1); your F.O.I.D. card is expired but not otherwise eligible for renewal See, 430 ILCS 65/14(c)(2); or, you do not have a F.O.I.D. card and are not eligible to obtain one See, 430 ILCS 65/14(c)(3).

Experienced Lake County Criminal Defense of No F.O.I.D. Card Cases

We defend alleged F.O.I.D. card violations in the Lake County, Illinois criminal courts. We are a Lake County criminal defense law office. Lead attorney Matt Hoffman has nearly 20 years' experience with Lake County F.O.I.D. based charges. We are here to defend and protect your rights under the Constitution and the Second Amendment and will work to achieve a positive resolution of your Lake County F.O.I.D. card case.


Aggravated discharge of a firearm is a very serious offense. Aggravated discharge of a firearm punishes knowingly or intentionally discharging a firearm in the direction of another person or in the direction of a vehicle you knew or reasonably should have known to be occupied by a person. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(a)(2)

Illinois' aggravated discharge of a firearm law also punishes knowingly or intentionally firing a gun from a place outside the building at or into a building you know or reasonably should know to be occupied. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(a)(1).

Aggravated discharge of a firearm as described here is a class 1 felony offense, punishable by between 4 and 15 years in prison.

Are there more serious versions of aggravated discharge of a firearm?

There are a number of other versions of aggravated discharge of firearm, all of which are even more serious class X felony offenses. For instance, knowingly or intentionally firing a gun in the direction of another person, or into a building, while you are on the grounds of a school, or within 1000 feet of school grounds, is a class X felony offense. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(b). Class X felonies carry mandatory prison sentences of between 6 and 30 years upon conviction.

Additionally, if you are accused of knowingly or intentionally discharging a firearm in the direction of certain protected classes of people engaged in their official duties, not only will you be charged with a class X felony, but with a class X felony carrying a mandatory prison sentence of between 10 and 45 years. Such protected persons include police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services personnel. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(b).

For instance, knowingly or intentionally firing a gun in the direction of another person, or into a building, while you are on the grounds of a school, or within 1000 feet of a school, is a class X felony offense. A class X felony carries a mandatory prison sentence of between 6 and 30 years upon conviction.

Does the HoffmanLaw Office Have Experience with this Serious Offense?

Yes. HoffmanLaw criminal defense attorney Matt Hoffman has significant prior experience handling aggravated discharge of a firearm cases. He is ready to put that experience to work for you in defending you in Lake County criminal court.


The offense of reckless discharge of a firearm is punished far less-seriously than aggravated discharge of a firearm. Reckless discharge of a firearm is a class 4 felony, punishable by between 1 and 3 years in prison. See, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.5.

Unlike the offense of aggravated discharge of a firearm, which alleges knowingly or intentionally discharging a firearm, the offense of reckless discharge of a firearm alleges discharging a firearm in a reckless manner which endangers the bodily safety of an individual.


If you're charged with a Lake County weapon offense, a highly experienced HoffmanLaw criminal defense attorney is here to defend you.

We're ready to take on your case and to do the hard work necessary to fight for your rights in Lake County criminal court. We're ready to pursue a favorable resolution of the charges you face.

Built on nearly 20 years of Lake County criminal court experience, the HoffmanLaw Office has a proven track record of achieving stellar results for our clients.

No matter how you're charged, whether you're charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, no matter if you have a lengthy criminal record or no prior record at all, your Hoffman law attorney has the skills, knowledge, experience and commitment to excellence necessary to defend your case.

A Focus on Defending Weapon Charges at the Main Criminal Courthouse in Waukegan, Illinois

Most Lake County weapon offenses are prosecuted at the main Lake County courthouse in downtown Waukegan, Illinois. Lake County criminal defense attorney Matt Hoffman of the HoffmanLaw Office has practiced in the criminal courtrooms in downtown Waukegan for nearly 20 years. He has significant experience with Lake County weapon cases.

We Build Your Defense on the Presumption of Innocence

It is important to know and remember that no matter how you are charged, you are presumed innocent of the offense. You have the right to a trial, the right to see and hear the prosecution's evidence and witnesses, the right to cross-examine those witnesses, the right to testify on your behalf, and the right to present evidence and witnesses in your own case.

The HoffmanLaw Office is here to protect and defend your rights. We have a long history of experience in Lake County misdemeanor and felony court. We also have years of experience defending weapon charges in Lake County juvenile court.

No matter how you're charged in your Lake County weapon case, your HoffmanLaw lawyer has the knowledge and experience necessary to work as your powerful and effective legal advocate.






Knowingly Possessing a Specified Weapon

Defined as Illegal to Possess

Or in a Condition or Place Deemed to be Unlawful


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Analysis.

The HoffmanLaw Office always is focused on the presumption of innocence. Building on this presumption, the HoffmanLaw Office performs a systematic and searching ANALYSIS of the facts alleged in your case. This intensive analysis exposes weakness in the prosecution's evidence and develops powerful defense arguments and strategies.

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Preparation.

The HoffmanLaw Office strives to know completely the facts and law of your case. In criminal court, good results do not often emerge by chance. They come through intense PREPARATION that lays the groundwork for success. When you select the HoffmanLaw Office as your legal advocate, you team yourself with a philosophy of extreme preparation.

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Results.

The HoffmanLaw Office views every time it appears in court with you as an opportunity to achieve RESULTS. Whether it is negotiating during a pretrial conference, cross-examining a witness, or delivering a closing argument at trial, the HoffmanLaw Office strives to be your best advocate at all times.

Facing Lake County Illinois Criminal Weapon Possession Charges?




Defending Serious Criminal Weapon Possession Charges in Lake County Illinois Criminal Court

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The HoffmanLaw Office also defends weapon possession charges at the Lake County, Illinois juvenile courthouse in Vernon Hills. Juvenile court prosecutions are governed by penalties, rules and procedures that often differ greatly from those that apply in adult court, including those discussed on this page.

Attorney Matt Hoffman of the HoffmanLaw Office has many years' experience with Lake County juvenile delinquency proceedings and "Petitions for Adjudication of Wardship." He is a former Lake County Assistant State's Attorney who used to prosecute juvenile cases in Lake County juvenile court. If your child is charged with a weapon offense in Lake County juvenile court, the HoffmanLaw Office has the specific experience necessary to work toward an intelligent and effective resolution of the case.

Matt Hoffman is a former recipient of the Lake County, Illinois Juvenile Justice Award.

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