US Supreme Court Rules Part of Illinois Gun Law Unconstitutional

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the provision of the Illinois Criminal Code that makes it a felony for a properly registered gun owner to possess a firearm on Illinois public land is unconstitutional and violates the Second Amendment to the United State’s Constitution its ruling in People of Illinois v. Alberto Aguilar, 2013 IL 112116, filed September 13, 2013.  In handing down the decision, the Supreme Court has effectively nullified an Illinois state law, making it a class four felony for a person with a valid FOID card to posses a loaded and uncased firearm on land other than their own immediately on their person or accessible in their vehicle.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court basically extended the recent rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) to extend the right of persons to bear arms outside their own home for the purpose of self-defense to include public property and vehicles.  In so ruling, the Court recognized a distinction in the Second Amendment between “keeping” arms in the home and “bearing” arms in public for self-defense.  However, the Court did also expressly recognize the rights of states to impose reasonable regulation on the possession of firearms outside the home.

The immediate effect of this ruling will be that the specific section of the Illinois Criminal Code, 720 ILCS, Section 24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(a), will be found unconstitutional in its entirety as a blanket ban on possession of firearms by individuals in public.  This means that the law will be considered void ab initio, or void from its inception.  Individuals who will benefit most from this ruling are individuals who have a valid FOID card and were charged with carrying, on or about their person or vehicle, an uncased, loaded and immediately accessible firearm.  Those individuals have the basis to move for the Illinois State Court to immediately dismiss that specific charge against them.  The long term effects as the Legislature works to redraft the Illinois gun statutes are far less certain and shall become more clear over time.

If you have been charged with possessing a firearm, Attorney J. Samuel Worley can help you.  Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation today.

I got arrested for DUI, should I get a lawyer for the first court date?

There are many tactical advantages in obtaining a lawyer prior to your first court date.  First and foremost consider the ramifications on your Illinois driving privileges.  Once arrested for DUI, you will face a mandatory suspension of your Illinois driver’s license for a minimum of six months to one year for a first offender and a minimum one to three years for multiple offenders.  This suspension takes effect on the 46th day from the date your citation was issued.  Obtaining an attorney prior to your first court date affords you the best opportunity to rescind the DUI suspension and fully restore your driving privileges, many times before the suspension even takes effect.  There are five basic grounds on which your suspension may be rescinded.  An experienced attorney can consult with you and quickly assess the chances of successfully rescinding your suspension based on those grounds.  In addition to the five grounds for rescission, the State only has a limited time in which to provide you a hearing upon receiving proper notification of your Petition to Rescind.  Hiring an attorney before the first court date allow him or her to file a Petition on your behalf, thus putting the State on the clock to provide your hearing even before you step into court the first time.

In addition to quickly and aggressively fighting for your Illinois driving privileges, hiring an attorney before your first court date will help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire prosecution.  A first offense DUI is a class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to three hundred sixty four days in jail.  The consequences only escalate with other aggravating factors such as accidents with or without injury, driving without a valid driver’s license or having prior DUI convictions.  With your liberty at stake, it is crucial that you have someone protecting your rights throughout the process.  With a lawyer at your side at the first court date, he or she will be able to obtain police reports and consult with you about the strengths and weaknesses of the State’s case, examine charging documents to detect any technical problems and ensure that your case is resolved quickly and efficiently.