Friday, October 13, 2017

CAN ILLINOIS POLICE STOP ME JUST BECAUSE I HAVE A GUN?

The answer is probably not.

On September 12, 2013, the Illinois Supreme Cort in People v. Aguilar partially struck down the law that barred possession of a handgun for self-defense outside the home. Thus, the mere fact you have a gun in your possession, without more, is not enough cause for police to stop you.

In a recent appellate case, People v Thomas, police received a tip that the defendant had a gun. The tip did not inform police whether defendant was involved in other criminal activity or whether defendant lacked a valid Firearms Owners Identification card. The gun ban was in effect at the time of defendant’s arrest. However, the law had since been declared unconsitutional and could no longer serve as a basis for the defendant’s arrest. Therefore, defendant’s stop by police was unconstitutional.

Likewise in People v Horton, officers thought they saw a metallic object that could have been a gun. The court held that this fact alone did not serve as probable cause for an arrest.

If you have a prior conviction based on a law that has since been declared unconstitutional, you will need to petition the court to vacate your prior conviction. Otherwise, your prior conviction can be used against you in a later offense. For more information, see our related post: If a Gun Law is Unconstitutional, Can My Conviction Under That Law Be Set Aside.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. If police did not have a valid reason to stop you, an attorney may be able to ask the court to suppress the evidence from your arrest. Even if the police acted properly and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the court house 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 matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(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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