If this is your first charge and it is a class a misdemeanor, you have a very good chance of avoiding jail time. It is always best to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
You have a great chance of not going to jail given the nature of the offence and your first time exposure to the criminal system. A good attorney could make sure you get a reasonably good result to protect your freedom and your valuable future.
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I do not think you are going to jail on this. I am a fellow shooter and would be happy to give you a free consult to discuss the situation with you.
What kind of weapon are we talking about here? Rifle or pistol? What condition was the weapon? Magazine inserted? Did you forget a round in the chamber? Was the weapon secured in the case? What prompted the officer to inquire about the weapon in the case? Was the weapon in an arm's span reach?
Also, sadly it does make a difference - What county were you in. If its Lake or McHenry, you have a better chance. Crook, err Cook County is its own world. Also what agency - local village police, County, or State did you interact with? This changes who will prosecute you. If its a village, its a village attorney, if its County or State, you have the State's Attorney's Office to contend with.
Call an attorney. Make sure they are familiar with not only the law, but understand guns too. I am a former Marine and have a law enforcement background prior to becoming an attorney. You and I both know and can likely argue there is no such thing as an "Assault Rifle" unless one means any loaded rifle pointed at you in anger than it is most definitely assault.
All attorneys have biases just like everybody else. Make sure you have someone in your corner who can put this situation into the proper perspective and can further articulate this position on your behalf in Court. One silly situation is not worth losing your FOID.
I would be honored to help if I can.
This answer is marginal legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Every client and case is unique. The best advice is to always consult with an attorney. Free legal resources at www.ZippToCourt.com