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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
-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.
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.
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.
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.