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What You Should Know About Disorderly Conduct


To ensure that a community runs peacefully and smoothly, certain laws exist to place boundaries on what people are allowed to do and, when individuals partake in activities that have a high potential to create a disturbance or result in a non-peaceful event, their actions can be prosecuted. These charges are often common in situations where intoxicated individuals group up in large gatherings or engage in other rowdy public displays that breach the peace.

Disorderly Conduct Laws

Although disorderly conduct laws tend to vary across the country’s different municipalities and states, most states tend to classify disorderly conduct as any type of behavior that could potentially cause anger, alarm, annoyance, or the likelihood of unlawful activity. Below is a list of what is typically covered by disorderly conduct laws:

  • Objectivity: To prove that a person’s conduct was disorderly, it is not always necessary for a prosecutor to show that another person was alarmed by that person’s behavior. When determining disorderly conduct laws, the courts apply an objective standard, which essentially means that the prosecutor only needs to prove that a reasonable person would have been alarmed by the defendant’s actions.
  • Circumstance: It is not uncommon for disorderly conduct cases to involve behavior that would not be considered disorderly if it occurred at a different time or place. For example, if someone shouted loudly on a suburban neighborhood street in the evening, this could be considered disorderly conduct. However, if this took place on a weekday in an industrial area, it would likely not be considered disorderly.
  • Setting: Disorderly conduct or conduct that is believed to disturb public order is prohibited in some public areas, such as public restrooms, hospital emergency rooms, or private buildings that are available for public rental or entertainment. This means that even when conduct occurs in private, it can still be considered disorderly if it disturbs others.

Additionally, certain types of activity are generally considered disorderly. They include:

  • Fighting, brawling, and other physical scuffles that might also result in serious charges of battery or assault.
  • Disruptive protests, such as sit-in demonstrations that might block traffic on a pedestrian walkway.
  • Disturbing an assembly, such as a city council meeting or religious ceremony.
  • Engaging in conduct that is acceptable in private in a public area, such as public urination or public masturbation.
  • Police encounters, such as arguing with the police while engaging in threatening conduct.

Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago

If you are facing criminal charges, you need to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected and you are able to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. At the Law Office of Steven Fine in Chicago, our knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is dedicated to serving as a fierce legal advocate to those who are in need of aggressive legal representation. Backed by more than 20 years of experience, you can be confident in our legal team’s ability to fight on your behalf.

Get started on your criminal defense case today and reach out to us at (312) 436-0638 for a free initial case review.