Gun charges are a serious business. The firearms laws of Illinois are stringent, and if you are found carrying a weapon, you will be charged under the UUW law and can face mandatory time behind bars. You may not realize but, getting charged with the Unlawful Use of Weapon (UUW) can lead to 7 years in prison and more than $10,000 in fine. Fighting gun charges in Chicago and Oklahoma can be extremely difficult, especially if you don’t have an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Kania Law to fight your case. Time is of the essence when it comes to fighting gun charges. You need to take action as soon as you can. Thankfully, your attorney can save you from prison time if you play your cards right. If you want to know how you can do that, here are four ways your criminal defense lawyer can fight gun charges.

1. Using preliminary hearing to gather helpful information for pre-trial motions

A majority of unlawful weapon cases get past the preliminary hearing. That means even if the defense wins at this level, it does not mean your charges can get dismissed. Considering the state of Illinois presents a witness who can testify that the accused individual possessed a firearm, the judge is most likely to decide to proceed to the trial as the evidence is enough.

Though the evidentiary standard at preliminary hearings is lower than in criminal trials, you should take these hearings seriously. Your attorney must leverage a preliminary hearing as an opportunity to gather more valuable facts and information that will help them in the pre-trial motions. Your attorney should use this information for motions like a motion to attack the probable cause of the search warrant or the motion to suppress the evidence. Your lawyer should use this information for evaluating different aspects of your case, such as actual or constructive possession.

In addition, your attorney can use the opportunity to collect information about potential trial issues such as constructive and actual possession.

2. Question the credibility of confidential informants and eyewitnesses before and during the trial

If the prosecution uses confidential informants to prosecute your case, your lawyer can file a motion to force the prosecution to present the confidential informant in court. Though the preliminary hearing is not the place to attack the credibility of eyewitnesses and information, the attorney can explore this option before and during the trial and pre-trial motions. If your lawyer doesn’t propose that, the District Attorney won’t reveal the confidential source that provided the information that led to your arrest.

Every state tries to protect the individuals who help law enforcement by providing critical information that helps the investigation. But, the prosecution cannot keep the individuals’ identity confidential if they are asked to testify by the defense and the court unless there is a genuine justification.

Your attorney should explore the background of the informants and witnesses, regardless of whether they are confidential or not, to understand their credibility. Like any other state in the U.S., Illinois allows the defense and the prosecution to indict the witness’s credibility. It’s also important to understand that there are always overlaps between the credibility and the witness’s character during such trials. Though it may not always be an issue if the witness’s character is questioned during the trial, the credibility must stand firm during the questioning.

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3. Use constructive possession to attack the prosecutor’s theory.

The defense attorney must target the prosecution’s theory based on constructive possession. The prosecution might argue that the weapon in question was found in the accused person’s immediate control instead of other people. In that case, your defense lawyer must emphasize other people and the people who had owned the weapon in question. Your lawyer should also direct the court to who else had access to the firearm. All these arguments can make the judge think reasonably and might save you from the charges. 

4. Challenge the probable cause or reasonable suspension of the police stop

The police officers must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop and search you. Most lawyers who defend firearms charges focus on probable cause to stop a person or vehicle searching. They usually ignore the lower form of reasonable suspicion, which is probable cause. The court cannot evaluate a probable cause unless there is reasonable suspicion. The suspicion should be more than just a guess or a hunch to tell the officer about a possible criminal activity. That is why your defense attorney must argue reasonable suspicion first if you are getting charged.

Firearm charges can destroy your life if you don’t take immediate action. That is why it is essential to find a defense lawyer or firm that specializes in firearm charges. That way, you can ensure the best legal representation and maximize your possibilities of an acquittal.

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