29 Sep 23

Answering Federal Gun Charges in Chicago: What You Need to Know

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Last Updated on: 1st October 2023, 08:22 am

Answering Federal Gun Charges in Chicago: What You Need to Know

Getting charged with a federal gun crime in Chicago can be scary. Believe me, I know. I’ve helped folks in your shoes before. But with the right information and a good lawyer on your side, you can get through this.

First off, don’t panic. Take a deep breath. The charges against you likely sound a lot worse than they really are. Prosecutors have a habit of piling on charges to scare defendants into taking a plea deal. Well, I’m here to tell you – don’t let them intimidate you.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the most common federal gun charges in Chicago, potential defenses, and what to expect if you decide to take your case to trial. My goal is to empower you with knowledge so you can make the best decisions for your situation.

Common Federal Gun Charges in Chicago

There are a handful of federal firearm statutes prosecutors in Chicago frequently use to charge defendants. Here are some of the big ones:

  • Felon in possession of a firearm – It’s illegal for anyone convicted of a felony to own or possess a gun. Conviction carries up to 10 years in prison.
  • Possession of a firearm by a domestic violence offender – If you’ve been convicted of domestic violence or are subject to a restraining order, it’s illegal to have a gun. Up to 10 years in prison.
  • Possession of a stolen firearm – Up to 10 years in prison if you possess a gun you know was stolen.
  • Possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number – Up to 5 years in prison for having a gun with a removed or altered serial number.
  • Possession of a machine gun – Up to 10 years in prison for owning fully automatic weapons.

Those are some of the most common charges, but there are many more. Chicago has super strict gun laws, even compared to the rest of Illinois. So the feds are eager to make examples out of defendants.

Potential Defenses to Federal Gun Charges

Don’t lose hope if you’ve been charged with one of these federal gun crimes. There are viable defenses that could get your charges reduced or even dismissed. Here are some of the most effective ones:

  • Illegal search – If police searched your home or vehicle without probable cause, any evidence found may be inadmissible.
  • Entrapment – If an informant or undercover agent pressured you into committing a crime you otherwise wouldn’t, you may have an entrapment defense.
  • Duress – If you can prove you only committed the crime under immediate threat of death or serious injury, you may have a duress defense.
  • Self-defense – Possessing a firearm to protect yourself or your family from imminent harm may provide a legal defense.

An experienced Chicago gun crimes lawyer will thoroughly analyze the facts of your case to craft the strongest defense strategy possible.

What to Expect if You Go to Trial

Many federal gun charges carry stiff mandatory minimum sentences. So prosecutors will try to intimidate you into taking a plea bargain. But with an aggressive lawyer on your side, you may decide your best bet is taking your case before a jury.

If you go to trial, here’s a basic rundown of what you can expect:

  • Jury selection – This process can take a few days as lawyers question potential jurors.
  • Opening statements – The prosecution and defense lay out their basic case theories.
  • Government’s case – Prosecutors call witnesses and present evidence trying to prove your guilt.
  • Defense case – Your lawyer calls witnesses aiming to create reasonable doubt about the charges.
  • Closing arguments – Lawyers summarize their cases and try to persuade the jury.
  • Jury deliberation – The 12 jurors discuss the case in private until they reach a unanimous verdict.
  • Verdict – The jury acquits or convicts you on each charge.
  • Sentencing – If convicted, the judge will impose a sentence based on federal guidelines.

This is a general outline. Every trial is unique, but knowing what to expect can help you feel more prepared.

Finding the Right Lawyer is Key

The single most important thing you can do when facing federal gun charges is hire the right lawyer. Don’t leave your fate in the hands of an overworked public defender. You need someone who will thoroughly investigate your case, aggressively fight the charges, and have your back every step of the way.

Ideally, you want a lawyer who:

  • Has extensive experience with federal gun cases
  • Is respected by prosecutors and judges
  • Isn’t afraid to take cases to trial
  • Makes you feel comfortable and well-represented

Don’t just go with the first lawyer you find or the cheapest option. Interview several attorneys and go with the one you trust most. This is your life on the line, so it’s worth investing in quality representation.

You Have Options – Don’t Give Up Hope

The government may try to railroad you into a quick plea deal, but you have options. With an experienced federal gun crimes lawyer advising you, you can craft a defense strategy that gives you the best shot at a favorable outcome – whether that’s getting charges dismissed pre-trial, winning at trial, or negotiating a lenient plea bargain as a last resort.

Yes, these charges are scary. But you are not alone. Lean on your lawyer’s expertise and fight smart. There is hope!

If you or a loved one is facing federal gun charges in Chicago, don’t leave anything to chance. Call my office today for a free case evaluation. I’ll listen to the details of your situation and discuss legal strategies for achieving the best possible result. This is a fight you don’t have to take on alone. Call now – let’s take the first step toward justice together.


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