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Aggravated Discharge of a Weapon Charges in Illinois

 Posted on June 13, 2024 in Weapons Charges

IL defense lawyerOn May 16th, 2024 a sentence of ten years in the Illinois Department of Corrections was given to an Illinois man convicted of the offense of Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm. His weapons charge conviction will be served at 85 percent, stemming from an event involving reports of shots fired in Marengo, IL. Witnesses to the incident stated the defendant allegedly shot his firearm at a vehicle occupied by a married couple and their two children.

Although nobody was injured in the shooting, the incident triggered the charge of Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm in Illinois. If you should find yourself facing this Illinois weapons charge, you must speak to a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible. The potential penalties for this criminal offense are severe and can alter your future.

What is Involved in This Type of Illinois Weapons Charge?

You might be surprised to know that firing a pellet or BB gun unlawfully can result in an Aggravated Discharge of a Weapon charge in the same way as firing an actual pistol or rifle. Under Illinois law, when a weapon is fired unsafely and could potentially injure another person or persons, this charge could apply. Specifically, the following actions can trigger this charge:

  • Using a weapon to fire toward a person or crowd—with or without an intention to actually hit someone
  • Using a weapon to fire toward a building that could potentially be occupied  
  • Using a weapon to fire at a vehicle that could potentially have a person or persons inside 

This means that regardless of whether a vehicle or building is empty if it is determined that you reasonably should have known there were people in the building or vehicle, you could face charges of Aggravated Discharge of a Weapon.  

What Are the Potential Penalties for Aggravated Discharge of a Weapon?

This is a Class 1 felony charge. Under Illinois law, the penalties for a conviction are severe and include:

  • Four to 15 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary
  • A fine as large as $25,000

You could be charged with a Class X felony if the offense is committed on a school property, within 1,000 feet of a property belonging to a school, at a school-related activity, or within 1,000 feet of a school bus or other vehicle used to transport students. A Class X felony conviction could result in six to 30 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary and a fine as large as $25,000.  

What Types of Defenses Are Available?

Your specific defense will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your charges. These charges are unique in that they may lend themselves to the “It was not me” defense. Drive-by shootings or shootings into a crowd, a building, or a vehicle often occur in heavily populated areas.

The discharge of a weapon can happen quickly, causing panic and pandemonium. People may be scrambling to find cover when they hear shots, and barring a confession by the accused, it may not be entirely clear who discharged the weapon. Without clear video evidence, the best defense for this charge could be to deny you were the responsible party.

If there is no doubt you were the shooter, you may have been shooting in self-defense of yourself or another individual or individuals. Under our Constitution, you have the guaranteed right to bear arms and defend yourself when you believe you are being threatened with death or bodily harm.  

If neither of the above defenses is valid following your charges, your attorney could identify issues associated with the recovery of evidence in your case or a civil rights violation. The police may have failed to follow proper procedure, the search for your weapon may have been unlawful, you may not have been properly Mirandized, or you may have been denied an attorney.  

Contact a Chicago, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

It can be extremely stressful to be charged with Aggravated Discharge of a Weapon. If you should find yourself facing these charges, request an attorney and refuse to answer questions until your Oakbrook Terrace, IL attorney arrives. Hartsfield Law offers a free consultation and has a diverse background defending Will County residents charged with a criminal offense. When you call Hartsfield Law at 312-345-1700, you are taking an important first step in protecting your future.

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