As is common throughout the United States, Illinois outlaws many forms of violent crime. If you are accused of a crime involving harm or attempted harm toward another person, the severity of the charges you face depends in large part on the circumstances surrounding the alleged criminal act. One factor that can significantly increase the severity of a criminal sentence is the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime.
Deadly Weapons and Aggravated Offenses in Illinois
A number of crimes in Illinois become much more serious when a weapon is involved. Depending on the circumstances, a lesser misdemeanor can be increased to a greater misdemeanor or felony, or a felony can increase to one of the most serious charges under Illinois law. Here are just a few examples of crimes that are exacerbated when the perpetrator is armed:
Assault - The offense of assault involves knowingly putting someone in fear of being physically harmed. A basic assault charge in Illinois is a Class C misdemeanor, with up to 30 days of jail time and a $1,500 fine. However, using a firearm or deadly weapon in an assault is a Class A misdemeanor, and it can become a Class 4 felony or higher if the weapon is discharged. This could mean three years or more in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Battery - Battery involves knowingly causing someone physical harm or making unwanted physical contact. It starts as a Class A misdemeanor, with up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine. When a deadly weapon other than a gun is involved, it is a Class 3 felony. When the battery involves the discharge of a firearm, it is a Class X felony, one of the most serious offenses in Illinois, with a prison sentence of up to 30 years or more, depending on the circumstances....