This is the next post in my short series on whether Chicago, Illinois residents should plead guilty to domestic violence charges. My last article discussed what to expect while on probation for such an offense. It is important to understand that violating probation will result in jail time. In this post I will address the topic of how a domestic violence conviction will impact your rights to own a firearm. If this is an issue you are concerned about then you should speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately.
Illinois and federal law prohibit a person from owning a gun if they have been convicted of domestic violence. 18 U.S.C. 922(g) is a federal provision which mandates that anyone who has been convicted of domestic assault, anywhere in the United States, may not possess a firearm. This means that if you are convicted of domestic violence in Illinois you will be prohibited from owning a firearm in our state and anywhere else in the U.S. Owning a firearm, in violation of this federal law, can result in a sentence of up to seven years in prison. Your right to own a gun will remain intact if you are charged with domestic violence but not convicted.
It is important to understand that the federal law discussed above prohibits one with a conviction from possessing a gun. This is a step beyond saying that one cannot own a gun. If, for example, one is caught in possession of a firearm which was legally owned by another then that person can be charged with a federal felony. This is true if the owner gave them permission to borrow or “hold on” to the gun. This means that simply being in possession of a firearm, while on probation for domestic violence, can lead to a revocation of the probation, having to serve the original sentence, and the facing of federal charges.
Federal prosecutors aggressively pursue those who violated 18 U.S.C. 922(g). When deciding whether to plead guilty to a domestic violence charge it is important to understand that you will be giving up your firearm rights. If this is an important issue to you, and you have a defensible case, then you may wish to take the matter to trial instead. If you find yourself in this situation then it is important to retain an attorney with the experience necessary to handle it. I am a former prosecutor with over thirty years of legal experience. Contact my Orland Park office today to speak with a Chicago domestic violence lawyer.
We handle matters in areas of Cook County including Chicago Ridge, Glenview, Crestwood, Evergreen Park, Bedford Park, Palos Park, Oak Lawn, Burbank, Oak forest, Blue Island, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Alsip, Bridgeview, Lemont, Orland Hills, Country Club Hills, Hickory Hills, Summit, Richton Park, Midlothian, Worth, Posen, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Hometown, and Tinley Park, in DuPage County areas including Downers Grove, Naperville, Woodridge, and Darien, in Kane County areas including Aurora, Elgin and Geneva, and the Will County cities of Joliet, Bolingbrook, Mokena, Frankfort, New Lenox, Lockport, Homer Glen, Romeoville, and Manhattan.