Armed Violence Charges in Illinois

The crime of Armed Violence in Illinois is defined by 720 ILCS 5/33A et seq. It is a serious felony in charge in Illinois that can carry decades in prison for those who are convicted. Contrary to the common-sense reading of the name of charge, a person need not commit any act of violence to be charged with armed violence in Illinois.

The crime of Armed Violence in Illinois can be committed in three different ways in Illinois, as defined in 720 ILCS 5/33A-2:

(a) A person commits armed violence when, while armed with a dangerous weapon, he commits any felony defined by Illinois Law, except first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, intentional homicide of an unborn child, second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated battery of a child as described in Section 12-4.3 or subdivision (b)(1) of Section 12-3.05, home invasion, or any offense that makes the possession or use of a dangerous weapon either an element of the base offense, an aggravated or enhanced version of the offense, or a mandatory sentencing factor that increases the sentencing range.

(b) A person commits armed violence when he or she personally discharges a firearm that is a Category I or Category II weapon while committing any felony defined by Illinois law, except first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, intentional homicide of an unborn child, second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated battery of a child as described in Section 12-4.3 or subdivision (b)(1) of Section 12-3.05, home invasion, or any offense that makes the possession or use of a dangerous weapon either an element of the base offense, an aggravated or enhanced version of the offense, or a mandatory sentencing factor that increases the sentencing range.

(c) A person commits armed violence when he or she personally discharges a firearm that is a Category I or Category II weapon that proximately causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement or death to another person while committing any felony defined by Illinois law, except first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, intentional homicide of an unborn child, second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated battery of a child as described in Section 12-4.3 or subdivision (b)(1) of Section 12-3.05, home invasion, or any offense that makes the possession or use of a dangerous weapon either an element of the base offense, an aggravated or enhanced version of the offense, or a mandatory sentencing factor that increases the sentencing range.

The first form of armed violence, under 720 ILCS 5/33A-2(a), is the most commonly charged. This charge is Class X felony in Illinois for which a person who is convicted faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. What makes this charge particularly troubling is the fact that it requires no violence at all Рinstead, a person need only be a convicted felon, who allegedly possesses a gun, and who allegedly commits a further felony. For example, a person who is a convicted felon, who has a handgun in his possession, and is sitting at home possessing a small amount of cocaine for person use could be convicted of armed violence in Illinois Рdespite the lack of any violent act all.

See also  Violation of an Order of Protection Charges in Illinois

Those facing an armed violence charge in Illinois are wise to recognize that the charge is a serious one that must be handled properly, and retain an attorney at once.