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Chicago Gun Crime Lawyer

Felony Weapon Possession Attorney in Illinois

The gun possession and carrying laws of Illinois are both somewhat lenient compared to other states but also uniquely complex. With gray areas in the law and the introduction of Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) requirements, it is easy to see how many people could find themselves arrested and charged with a gun crime without ever knowing they were doing something wrong. If you are facing criminal charges for your possession or sale of a firearm in Illinois, you could be hit with strict penalties upon conviction.

For more than 15 years, we have been representing people in the toughest of criminal defense cases and securing hard-fought victories, as our numerous client testimonials can attest. To learn about what we can do for you, do not hesitate to contact us today.

Legal Gun Possession & FOID Requirements

Anyone who wants to possess and carry a firearm of any sort in Illinois must first obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID). Without a FOID, it is a criminal offense to possess a gun, even in your own home. Handgun licenses from other states are not recognized by Illinois law, either.

In order to get a FOID, you must:

  • Be 21+ or 18+ with express written consent from a parent
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Meet all federal firearm possession requirements
  • Not be a convicted felon
  • Not be addicted to most controlled dangerous substances (CDS)
  • Not be “mentally impaired”

It should be noted that obtaining a FOID is not the same as obtaining a concealed carry permit. Many people in Illinois make this mistake and inadvertently break the law, thinking that they had the right to conceal the weapon on their person or in their vehicle. Additionally, no firearms require registration with the state; if you have been arrested for not registering your firearm, this could indicate a serious violation of your rights.

Firearm Felony Possession Penalties

As drastic as the aforementioned penalties for illegally possessing a firearm may seem, they are generally used for first-time offenders and for people who could have been eligible to possess a FOID but did not do so for whatever reason. If you are convicted subsequent times for the same violation, it will be considered a felony, which includes escalated penalties.

The penalties for felony possession of a firearm vary depending on whether the person is or is not a convicted felon, and whether they are in or out of prison. Keep in mind that, according to 720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(e):

  • “The possession of each firearm or firearm ammunition in violation of this Section constitutes a single and separate violation.”

A first-time weapon possession offense is also considered a felony without a FOID and are no longer eligible to obtain one through legal channels. In addition to a $25,000 fine, you could be penalized with up to five years in prison with a 2-year minimum sentence. Repeat violations of felony possession with no eligibility for a FOID can sentence you to 30 years in prison with a minimum sentence of six years.

  • Class 3 Felony Possession of a Firearm - A person commits a Class 3 felony when he or she is found in possession of a firearm and is not confined in a penal institution. 2 – 10 years in prison.
  • Class 2 Felony Possession of a Firearm - A person commits a class 2 felony if he or she is not confined to a penal institution and has committed: found with a firearm when on parole, found with a firearm when on mandatory supervised release, repeat offense of possession of a firearm by a felon, a forcible felony, a felony in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24, a felony in violation of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act, stalking or aggravated stalking, a class 2/greater drug related felony. 3 – 14 years in prison.
  • Class 1 Felony Possession of a Firearm - A person commits a Class 1 felony if he or she is confined in a penal institution and is found in possession of any weapon prohibited in 720 ILCS 5/25-1, regardless of the intent with which he or she possesses it. 4 – 15 years in prison.

Class X Felony Possession of a Firearm

"Class X" firearm possession felonies carry up to 30 years in prison when in possession of a machine gun outside a penal institution; or are in possession of a firearm, ammunition, or explosives inside of a penal institution. In addition, the individual may be charged with up to 50 years in prison if they are in possession of a machine gun inside of a penal institution.

Lastly, if the individual is wearing body armor in conjunction with any of these above stated felonies they have committed a class x felony (see 720 ILCS 5/33F-1). The penalty for any of these offenses while wearing body armor may be up to 40 years in prison.

Firearm Sales in Illinois

People and businesses that want to openly sell firearms must be licensed to do so. Before a purchaser can be handed their weapon, they and the seller must comply with a mandatory waiting period of 24 hours for rifles and shotguns and 72 hours for handguns and pistols. Firearms dealers may run into legal trouble due to the definition of certain weapons that can be difficult to categorize as a handgun or rifle.

Illinois does allow private persons or parties to sell or transfer firearms with little oversight. The only requirement for most private gun transactions is the notification of the Department of State Police (DSP), and this is only if the purchaser has not yet been licensed. The seller must supply the DSP with their own FOID number and the identification of the purchaser. If the DSP does approve of the sale, it may be conducted within 30 days. There is an online FOID directory for state residence convenience.

Protect Your Second Amendment Rights

Gun crimes are currently one of the most controversial forms of criminal violations in the country. Society and law enforcement may be overzealous when it comes to penalizing people for potential crimes. If your Second Amendment right to possess firearms is being infringed upon by unjust criminal charges, let our Chicago gun crime lawyers stand up for you before the court. If there is one thing we believe in here at Pissetzky & Berliner, LLC, it is that an attorney should never back down from a fight when their clients’ freedoms are on the line.

Let us be your hard-hitting legal advocates! Contact us today.


    People v. IP (2014) Mr. IP was arrested for possession of a large amount of a controlled substance after Chicago police executed a search warrant. Arguing that the information in the search warrant was fabricated, Mr. Pissetzky filed a Motion to Produce Informant. Against the odds, the judge granted the motion and ordered the State to produce the informant. When the State failed to do so, the judge dismissed the case.
  • Sentenced Reduced Heroin Conspiracy
    USA v. DA – 2011 – Mr. DA was charged in one the biggest Heroin busts in Chicago. DA was facing a mandatory life sentence under the Federal Rules because he was a repeat offender. After long negotiations, Mr. Pissetzky was able to demonstrate that DA was not part of the conspiracy and convinced the judge to sentence DA to only 37 months. All other charges were dropped.
  • Case Dismissed Motion Granted, Case Dismissed
    People v. RMC – Chicago police officers received information that a 2 kilo cocaine deal was going to happen in a garage. They set up surveillance and saw RMC pull into the garage in car. When he walked out of the garage, the Chicago police officers arrested him. While the officers searched the garage and car, they found 2 kilos of cocaine in the car. Mr. Pissetzky and another attorney filed a Motion to Suppress the Arrest and Quash the evidence. After a highly contested hearing, the judge held that the Chicago Police officers violated RMC’s Constitutional rights under the 4th Amendment, and Granted the Motion. The prosecutor had no choice but to dismiss all charges against RMC.
  • Not Guilty Not Guilty: possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver
    People v. JB – 2011 – Mr. JB was charged with 3 other co-defendants with possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver. Although the State’s attorney made a very low offer for a plea, Mr. Pissetzky advised JB to proceed to trail. During a bench trial, Mr. Pissetzky proved to the judge that JB did not have any knowledge of the drugs that were recovered from the car of the co-defendant. Although the police testified that they saw the drug transaction, Mr. Pissetzky convinced the judge that the state did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge found JB NOT GUILTY on all charges.
  • Not Guilty on All Counts People v. AB
    AB was charged with child pornography, criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault. Although the State made several offers on the case, Mr.Pissetzky and another attorney demanded trial. At trial, Mr. Pissetzky cross-examined the State’s witnesses and proved that AB did not know that the victim was under 18 years of age. After listening to the evidence, the judge found AB NOT GUILTY on all counts.
  • Dismissed People v. AH
    AH was charged with possessions with intent to distribute a large amount of cocaine. Mr. Pissetzky litigation skills led to the dismissal of all charges against AH.
  • Case Dismissed People v. AMM

    People v. AMM - Mr. AMM was charged with trafficking over 100lb of marijuana. Officers can to a home he was renting and after entering and searching the home, they seized over 100lb of marijuana. Mr. Pissetzky filed a motion to suppress evidence arguing that the officers entered the home without a warrant or consent. After a hearing in which Mr. Pissetzky impeached the testifying officer and exposed his lies, the Judge granted the motion and the case was dismissed.

  • Case Dismissed People v. ARP
    ARP was charged with a Class X felony of Possession with Intent to Distribute cocaine . After careful review of the police reports, Mr. Pissetzky filed a motion to quash and suppress evidence. At the hearing, Mr. Pissetzky proved to the judge that that the Cook County Sheriff that stopped ARP search ARP’s car illegally. The judge Granted the motion to quash and suppress and the case against ARP was Dismissed.
  • Not Guilty People v. FR
    FR was charged with predatory criminal assault, and 4 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. During a week long jury trial, Mr. Pissetzky exposed the alleged minor “victim” as a liar. In addition, Mr. Pissetzky call witnesses to testify to the true nature of the “victim”. After grueling cross-examinations, the jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty on all charges.
  • Not Guilty People v. H
    People v. H- H was charged with the first degree murder of 3 people. The prosecutor had two witnesses that claimed they were with H when he committed the murders. After receiving the discovery from the prosecutor, Mr. Pissetzky and his team conducted their own investigation and uncovered that someone else committed the murders. At trial, Mr. Pissetzky cross examined the prosecutions witnesses and exposed their lies. After the prosecution rested their case, Mr. Pissetzky moved the court to dismiss all charges and find H not guilty. The Judge agreed with Mr. Pissetzky and found H Not Guilty of all charges dismissing the case.


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