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Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly Conduct is a crime in Illinois that can be a Misdemeanor or a Felony carrying a possible prison sentence. The Disorderly Conduct statute, 720 ILCS 5/26-1, is meant to protect society's interest in having a peaceful and safe community. The victim of a Disorderly Conduct is not an individual. Instead, the victim is society which has had its desire to have a safe and peaceful community disturbed by something that a defendant charged with Disorderly Conduct did.

In order to be convicted of a Disorderly Conduct, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the following general elements of the crime of Disorderly Conduct beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The defendant committed an act that was so unreasonable that it;

2. alarmed or disturbed at least one person;

3. And provoked a breach of the peace.

Disorderly Conduct cases are generally divided into five groups. 1) Breach of the Peace. 2) False Reports and Alarms. 3) School Threats. 4) Privacy Violations. 5) Harassment by a Debt Collector. The potential penalties depend on the specific provision of the Disorderly Conduct statute the defendant is convicted of.

Breach of Peace

720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(1) provides that you can be guilty of a Disorderly Conduct if you act in such an unreasonable manner that you disturb another and provoke a breach of the peace. This is a very broad statutory provision that could cover almost anything. Examples of such Disorderly Conduct cases include the following:

-Playing Loud Music
-Public intoxication
-Public urination
-Violent Protests
-Swearing or shouting in public

To be convicted of a Disorderly Conduct for a Breach of the Peace, the prosecutor has to prove, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt, that you knowingly committed the act and that it alarmed or disturbed at least one person. The person that is alarmed or disturbed must be a member of the general public. The complaining witness, or the victim, cannot be a police officer.

A skilled criminal defense lawyer knows that a good defense to Disorderly Conduct charges based on a Breach of the Peace can be defended by arguing that the defendant did not know that anyone could hear the disturbance and argue that nobody was disturbed. Especially when the prosecutor fails to produce a member of the general public as a witness.

False Reports and Alarms

720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(2-10) makes contacting the police, ambulance, and emergency agencies, and making a false claim, a crime. The purpose behind this statute is to save resources by focusing on legitimate complaints, and not waste valuable government resources on false complaints. 

Most of these provisions are a Class A Misdemeanor which carry a maximum of 1 year in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500. False 911 calls, false police reports, and false ambulance calls, are Class 4 felonies in Illinois which carry up to 3 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000. A false bomb report is a Class 3 felony which carries up to 5 years in prison and a fine between $3,000 to $10,000.

School Threats

Common examples of school threats include bomb threats, threats of gun violence, and threats of fire on a school campus. Disorderly Conduct cases involving threats made to schools are treated very harshly in Illinois. Prosecutors and judges take these cases seriously and will not hesitate to take a hard line approach to such criminal charges. In recent years, the rising number of school shooting cases have made authorities especially sensitive to such cases. Disorderly Conduct charges involving threats to a school are Class 4 felonies in Illinois. A Class 4 felony carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Privacy Violations

This provision of the Disorderly conduct Statute is what was used to be known as the “Peeping Tom” provision. Today it’s considered voyeurism. It’s the guy who is looking through a window, or placing an electronic device in a bathroom, or the guy taking a picture of a female under their dress or skirt. Since everyone is carrying a camera on their cell phone in today’s modern society, these type of Disorderly Conduct cases appear to be on the rise.

A Disorderly Conduct charge based on an Invasion of Privacy is a Class A Misdemeanor in Illinois. An Invasion of Privacy Disorderly Conduct charge carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

Debt Collector

720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)12) prohibits a debt collector from engaging in harassing, annoying, or intimidating conduct.  What is considered harassing, annoying, or intimidating conduct is not described in the statute.  Disorderly Conduct charges against a debt collector are not common in the criminal law. Most cases involving debt collectors are on the civil side all of the legal process. Most Disorderly Conduct cases involving harassment or intimidation by debt collectors are filed against the company instead of individual debt collectors. Since you cannot imprison a company, the maximum penalty for a debt collector is a fine of no more than $3,000.

Effective and Successful Defense of Disorderly Conduct Charges by a Highly-Experienced Lawyer

James Dimeas has extensive experience successfully handling Disorderly Conduct cases throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. James Dimeas has been handling Disorderly Conduct cases for decades. James Dimeas has a long history of successfully defending clients charged with Disorderly Conduct and has a thorough understanding of what the prosecutor needs to prove in order to convict someone of a Disorderly Conduct. James Dimeas understands these various defenses and how to get Disorderly Conduct cases dismissed. Most criminal defense lawyers look to work out a plea agreement for Disorderly Conduct charges. James Dimeas will make the state work for it because he knows that it's not easy for the state to prove someone guilty of a Disorderly Conduct. James Dimeas knows what the defenses are and knows how to use them to win Disorderly Conduct cases.

Hire an Award-Winning, Highly Experienced Disorderly Conduct Lawyer For Your Case

James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, Disorderly Conduct lawyer, with over 29-years of experience handling Disorderly Conduct cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Recently, James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021” by the American Society of Legal Advocates. James Dimeas was named a “Best DUI Attorney”, a “Best DUI Lawyer in Schaumburg”, and a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago” by Expertise. James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois”. James Dimeas is rated ‘Superb’ by AVVO, 10 out of 10, the highest rating possible for any Disorderly Conduct lawyer in the United States. The American Society of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a ’10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois.”

If you are charged with a Disorderly Conduct, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can always talk to James Dimeas personally by calling him at 847-807-7405.

Client Reviews
I got into an argument with my ex-boyfriend. One thing led to another and when he came close to me I pushed him away. He called the police and when I spoke to the police I told them that I pushed him without realizing that you don't have to hit someone to be charged with a Domestic Battery. Being arrested was terrifying. I spoke to several attorneys who promised they would win the case and were charging a ridiculous amount of money. A friend referred me to James Dimeas. He was straightforward and honest with me and charged me a very reasonable and affordable fee. He got me into the Kane County Deferred Prosecution Program. I successfully completed the program and I just received paperwork in the mail that the case has been expunged and completely removed from my record. I highly recommend Jim Dimeas. He is an honest and straightforward lawyer that will look out for your best interests. E.A.
Had a DUI and hired a lawyer who lived in my building that I knew for years and trusted. Thought he was my friend. Paid him (more than I should have) and he handled my case for almost a year and totally screwed it up. I fired him and found out that he had given up his law license around the time I hired him. A friend recommended James to me and he took over my case and handled it the way it should have been handled from the beginning. I cannot stress how HIGHLY I recommend James Dimeas. I wish I would have hired him from day one. He answered all my calls and text messages and cleaned up a royal mess that had been created by the previous guy that I thought was a lawyer. I consider James to be a friend and recommend him to all of my friends. What a great lawyer and an even better guy! J.P.
I had been accused of doing something, by my then wife, that I did not do. I was 100% innocent and was at the lowest point in my life. My mother told me to call James Dimeas. Her friend recommended him to her. James fought for me in court and refused to back down, even when the prosecution offered to lower the charges and make me plead guilty. I refused to plead guilty to something I did not do. The case went to trial and James won my case. I was found not guilty because I was NOT GUILTY. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND JAMES DIMEAS! Not only is he a great lawyer, but he is also a great human being. The truth shall set you free! C.D.
James Dimeas is a great lawyer who knows what he is doing and will guide you through every step of the process. He will go above and beyond what he needs to do to help you out. Sometimes I would text him in the evening or the weekend with a question and he would always respond. Really made me feel like he cared about me. When we went to court he tore apart the girl that was making false allegations against me and he won my case. That was one of the greatest day of my life. If you need legal help, the only lawyer should call is James Dimeas. Highly recommended! E.L.
I am so lucky to have stumbled upon this great attorney. I made a really stupid mistake at the worst time. I needed to get a case dismissed within 2 or 3 weeks so I could join the military. I could not leave for Basic Training until the case was dismissed and Jim made some calls and got the case dismissed. What a great guy. I’m so lucky I found him online and called him! Somebody was looking out for me. J.S.