Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Street Gang Member Charges in Illinois

The crime of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Street Gang Member in Illinois is defined by 720 ILCS 5/24-1.8 as follows:

(a) A person commits unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member when he or she knowingly:

(1) possesses, carries, or conceals on or about his or her person a firearm and firearm ammunition while on any street, road, alley, gangway, sidewalk, or any other lands, except when inside his or her own abode or inside his or her fixed place of business, and has not been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and is a member of a street gang; or

(2) possesses or carries in any vehicle a firearm and firearm ammunition which are both immediately accessible at the time of the offense while on any street, road, alley, or any other lands, except when inside his or her own abode or garage, and has not been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and is a member of a street gang.

(b) Unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member is a Class 2 felony for which the person, if sentenced to a term of imprisonment, shall be sentenced to no less than 3 years and no more than 10 years. A period of probation, a term of periodic imprisonment or conditional discharge shall not be imposed for the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member when the firearm was loaded or contained firearm ammunition and the court shall sentence the offender to not less than the minimum term of imprisonment authorized for the Class 2 felony.

Those convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Street Gang Member face a prison term of 3-10 years, and a fine of up to $25,000, which is a much harsher sentence than Illinois law normally allows for a Class 2 felony conviction.

See also  Arraignment in a Criminal Case in Illinois

In a case where a person is accused of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Street Gang Member under Illinois law, a major issue is always whether that person is actually a gang member. Prosecutors and police will often allege that a person is a gang member, but that accusation itself does not make it true.  The burden is always on the State to prove every element of a crime, including the street gang membership element of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Street Gang Member in Illinois.

Anyone accused of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Street Gang Member is wise to seek an attorney at once, as the charge is a very serious one.