If possession of cocaine can get you deported and is generally a bad idea, a lot worse idea is possession of a gun.
Gun possession in Chicago, or “UUW (Unlawful Use of a Weapon) as it is generally known is a crime that is aggressively prosecuted. You will possibly get probation from a judge, but you will almost NEVER get it as an offer from a prosecutor.
To give you an idea of how common and pervasive this crime is, the annotated version of this statute, which is pretty long to begin with, runs 80 pages. That is over 250 cases describing all the ins and outs of gun possession. This is one heavily litigated crime.
There’s a reason for that. I tell my clients charged with UUW for the first time, you are having a giant T for Thug branded on your chest for this crime. If you have a UUW in your background and you pick up a new case, your bond is going to skyrocket. If you have a UUW in your background and you get another UUW, or anything that looks drug or gang related, your offer is going to skyrocket. This is one serious crime.
In order to prove gun possession, generally, the police must prove that they saw you with the weapon on your person, literally, touching you, or within a reasonable area to say you were in control of it (which is generally the area you can reach). As with drugs, guns can also be put upon you by means of constructive possession. This means that the gun must only be in an area over which you have exclusive and immediate control (i.e. your car, or your bedroom, etc.). But the case law on guns is terrible.
Also, if you are transporting the gun (and 90% of gun cases involve you having the gun in your car or on your person, so you are “transporting” it for the purpose of the law), there are a number of other things the state must prove. They must prove that you did not have the gun in a case, that the gun was in an operable condition and that you were not in possession of a Firearms Owner Identification Card.
Needless to say, I will get into gun possession cases more on some later dates, discussing the bad rulings, the good rulings, tactics and problems.