If you are anywhere near a gun, possessing a valid Firearms Owner Identification Card can spell the difference between a clean record and big trouble.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down gun control in District of Columbia v. Heller. Since then, many a state’s gun laws have fallen by the wayside. Even so, you must still possess a valid Illinois FOID card. If you are caught near a gun without one, you could face serious charges.

In a recent Illinois decision, police were responding to an alert of “shots fired” when they spotted a speeding car in which defendant was a passenger. Police found a gun in plain sight near the defendant’s feet. Although the gun was not tested for fingerprints and the serial number was not linked to defendant, he was convicted of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon and sentenced to three years in prison based on his failure to possess a valid FOID card. See People v Irwin.

If you are facing aggravated firearm charges, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. If the police search was illegal, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the resulting evidence even if you didn’t have a valid FOID card. Furthermore, the state still has the burden of proving you guilty of each element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Does the state have the evidence they need? Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected at the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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