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What Is Considered Disorderly Conduct in Illinois?

Illinois Disorderly Conduct Laws

Under 720 ILCS § 5/26-1, someone commits disorderly conduct when they consciously behave in an unreasonable way that alarms or disturbs another person or disturbs the peace. In addition to disallowing disturbing the peace, this law also prohibits people from making:

  • A false report of a fire or fire alarm
  • A false report of a bomb or other explosive devices
  • A false report of a crime (past or in progress)
  • A request for emergency response service if they know the assistance isn’t needed
  • A false report about child abuse or neglect
  • A false report to the Department of Public Health
  • An entrance to someone else’s property for inappropriate or unlawful purposes (through windows or other openings)
  • Harassing or intimidating calls to consumers while trying to collect a debt

Examples of Disorderly Conduct

Most arrests for disorderly conduct that involve disturbing the peace involve the discretion and opinion of the arresting officer. Someone can be charged with disorderly conduct if they:

  • Have a loud argument in a public space
  • Call 911 to report a crime that hasn’t and won’t occur
  • Pull the fire alarm when there isn’t a fire
  • Urinate in a public space

It is important to note that it isn’t illegal to make a report if you believe a crime or fire is occurring. For example, it isn’t illegal to report a fire if you smelled smoke, but it turned out to be a neighbor’s grill. However, it is illegal to report child abuse or neglect simply because you don’t like or trust the child’s parents.

Consequences for Disorderly Conduct Convictions

Sentencing for disorderly conduct varies based on which act an offender commits. Depending on the specifics of the violation, an offender can be charged with a:

  • Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a prison sentence of no more than 30 days and/or a fine of $75-$1,500
  • Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a prison sentence of no more than 6 months and/or a fine of $75-$1,500
  • Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a prison sentence of no more than 364 days and/or a fine of $75-$2,500
  • Class 4 felony, punishable by a prison sentence of 1-3 years and/or a fine of $75-$25,000
  • Class 3 felony, punishable by a prison sentence of 5-10 years and/or a fine of $75-$25,000

Additional penalties can also include being required:

  • To reimburse public response agencies for the cost of their emergency response, up to $10,000
  • To perform community service for 30 to 120 hours if it is available, funded, and approved by the county board of the county where the violation occurred

How to Beat a Disorderly Conduct Charge

If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, you should take these charges seriously. As mentioned, convictions have serious consequences. Felony convictions can also affect certain freedoms such as firearm privileges or the ability to work in certain fields (like the government or education sectors). Since convictions appear in background checks, they can also negatively affect your job search, rental opportunities, and/or child custody or visitation matters.

To beat disorderly conduct charges, you need to contact our criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. When fighting these charges, possible defenses include:

  • You believed that you were making an authentic report.
  • The prosecution cannot prove that your actions were actually alarming or disturbing, due to lack of evidence or misinterpretation of your words or actions (by an arresting officer or others).

You shouldn’t leave your rights, freedom, or future up to chance, or in the hands of an inexperienced, underqualified lawyer. We can investigate the incident that led to your arrest and advise you on how to move forward with a strong defense.

At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our attorney has over 20 years of experience. Hiring Attorney Steven Fine can tip the scales of justice in your favor. To schedule your case consultation, connect with us online or call at (312) 436-0638.