Lawyer Photo

Armed Habitual Criminal

Protecting Defendants from Weapons Charges – Firearm Offense Criminal Defense Lawyers

Illinois has enacted tough firearm offense laws that target those with specific types of past offenses on their criminal record. If you have been arrested and charged with an Armed Habitual Criminal offense, you may face extremely serious consequences. Because this is a Class X Felony – the most serious type of felony under Illinois law – it is imperative that you assert your Miranda rights and contact an experienced Chicago firearms criminal defense attorney.

Chicago gun crimes attorney David L. Freidberg has over 20 years of legal experience. During that time, Mr. Freidberg has successfully defended clients charged with the full range of firearms and weapons offenses from misdemeanors to felonies. Our law firm has developed a reputation for providing tenacious defense of our clients with judges, prosecutors and the public by doggedly defending the rights or our clients and aggressively challenging the evidence offered by prosecutors. At our Chicago criminal defense law firm, our Chicago firearms crimes attorneys know that prosecutors take these cases especially seriously so we carefully investigate every piece of evidence as well as law enforcement procedures to build a convincing defense for our clients.

Armed Habitual Criminal Firearms Offense & Potential Penalties

The Armed Habitual Criminal offense is a weapons charge (720 ILCS 5/24-1.7) that makes it a crime for anyone with at least two convictions of certain types to possess, sell, receive or transfer a firearm. The prosecutor may charge you with this form of firearm offense if you have been convicted of two or more of any of the following criminal offenses:

  • Unlawful use of a weapon by a convicted felon (including aggravated use)
  • Forcible felony
  • Illinois Controlled Substance Act or Cannabis Control Act violations qualifying as at least a Class 3 Felony
  • Aggravated child battery
  • Aggravated discharge of a firearm
  • Intimidation (aggravated or not)
  • Home invasion
  • Aggravated battery involving use of a firearm
  • Carjacking (aggravated or otherwise)

If you have been convicted of any of these offenses in combination or any of the offenses more than once, you will face exposure to a Class X felony conviction. A conviction of this serious form of felony means that you do not qualify for probation and face a potential term of incarceration in state prison of between six and thirty years. If you have two prior Class X felonies, you may even face a potential mandatory life sentence without eligibility for parole.

Defenses to This Firearms Weapon Charge in Illinois

While these charges are extremely serious, we may be able to successfully defend against this firearm offense based on the specific facts of the case. Because the firearm will generally be an important piece of evidence when you face this type of weapons charge, we may object to the search that recovered the gun based on a wide range of theories, such as:

  • No legal grounds existed for a “Terry Stop” (brief stop based on articulable evidence)
  • Consent given to a search of your residence by someone not authorized to give consent
  • Gun discovered during search of a structure near your home not covered by the search
  • Officer’s lack of candor about receiving consent or finding gun in “plain view” during a lawful search
  • Improper search of areas outside the passenger compartment of your vehicle during a traffic stop
  • Distortion of the facts by police officers in an affidavit seeking a search warrant

These are merely a few of the strategies that our criminal defense team may utilize when filing a motion to suppress a gun based on an illegal search when our client is charged with an Armed Habitual Criminal offense in Chicago or elsewhere throughout Cook County and the surrounding areas. When Mr. Freidberg is able to convince the judge to exclude the firearm from this type of case, he essentially eviscerates the prosecutor’s case, which may result in dismissing the charges against the defendant. In situations, where there is witness testimony or other remaining evidence to support the charge, loss of the gun as evidence may provide the basis to compel the prosecutor to agree to a significant favorable reduction to a lesser charge.

Mr. Freidberg also uses experienced private investigators to interview witnesses and expose witness inaccuracies or reveal inappropriate conduct or misrepresentation of the facts by law enforcement officers. Some of the other defenses that Mr. Freidberg may employ include the following:

  • Failure to provide or a defective Miranda warning
  • Disregard of an assertion of Miranda rights against self-incrimination or the right to counsel
  • Police misconduct or racial profiling
  • Impeaching fact witnesses during cross-examination
  • Lack of chain of custody of the gun

While you may have the right to a public defender depending on your situation, Mr. Freidberg maintains a carefully controlled caseload that allows him to provide zealous defense for each of his clients. Because the number of cases that he handles is more limited, he also has the ability to meet with you and carefully explain your rights and options so that you can make informed decisions.

Consequences of a Conviction

If you are convicted of an Illinois Armed Habitual Criminal charge, you may face other serious consequences beyond a felony conviction and significant time in state prison. The firearms felony charge may inhibit your future employment by making you ineligible for certain professional or occupational licensing and hang around your neck when applying for jobs. There are also other potential consequences including:

  • Disqualification for permanent residency or citizenship
  • Removal (deportation) from the U.S. and bar from re-entry
  • Availability of criminal record to landlords, financial institutions, academic institutions and more
  • Loss of certain rights including gun ownership and participation in jury service and elections
Contact an Experienced Chicago Attorney

When you are accused of being an Armed Habitual Criminal under Illinois law, this serious felony charge can result in consequences that impact you forever. Further, the severity of the crime may affect every aspect of your life. When you retain Cook County criminal defense attorney David L. Freidberg at the earliest opportunity, he can begin investigating the charges and looking for potential legal grounds to seek suppression of critical evidence. He can also protect you from unfair tactics or mistakes during interrogations by law enforcement officials. Mr. Freidberg is committed to providing vigorous defense to his clients to safeguard their future and keep them out of state prison. While our criminal defense law firm uses its resources, experience and expertise to seek an acquittal or dismissal of charges whenever appropriate, we also have the experience to know when tenacious plea negotiations offer a better alternative.

We invite those arrested for Armed Habitual Criminal offenses in Chicago or the surrounding areas to speak with one of our Chicago weapons charge attorneys. We offer a confidential consultation that is free of charge. Please contact us at 312-560-7100 or email us to learn how we can help.