How Does a Deadly Weapon Affect the Severity of Illinois Crimes?
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.
Sexual assault - Sexual assault is already an extremely serious offense that is charged as at least a Class 1 felony with up to 15 years of imprisonment. When the perpetrator possesses, displays, or uses a firearm, it becomes a Class X felony.
Robbery - Robbery, meaning the forcible taking of property from a person, is at minimum a Class 2 felony with a prison sentence of up to 7 years. The use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon increases the offense to armed robbery, a Class X felony.
Burglary - Residential burglary occurs when a person unlawfully enters someone else’s home with the intent to commit theft or a felony. It is a Class 1 felony. When the perpetrator possesses a weapon and people are present in the residence, the crime is instead charged as the Class X felony of home invasion.
Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime involving a gun or another type of deadly weapon, you face a severe sentence. At Davi Law Group, our Wheaton, IL criminal defense lawyers can provide you with the best possible representation to help you avoid conviction or reduce the charges against you. Contact us today for a free consultation at 630-580-6373.