Disorderly Conduct

ILLINOIS CRIMINAL OFFENSES THAT COULD LEAD TO ARREST, JAIL TIME, SUBSTANTIAL FINES, COSTS, PUBLIC SERVICE HOURS, AND CONVICTIONS ON YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD

PEORIA, ILLINOIS LAWYERS WHO PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS, LIVELIHOOD, AND ABILITY TO PROVIDE FOR YOUR FAMILY.

Disorderly Conduct (720 ILCS 5/26-1)

If you are charged with Disorderly Conduct, you will need experienced and effective legal representation.  The most common charge of Disorderly Conduct is a Class “C” Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in the County Jail and/or a $1500 fine.  If a jail sentence is not ordered there is a minimum of 30 to 120 community service hours required for a conviction.  This is the least serious misdemeanor charge in Illinois.  However, certain less common charges of disorderly conduct can be Class “B” and Class “A” misdemeanors and even Class “4” and Class “3” Felonies.  A conviction for this offense can cause problems when looking for a job, enrolling in school, applying for professional licensing, and many other major life events.

The most frequent charge of Disorderly Conduct arises from what many refer to as “Disturbing the Peace”.  This is a wide ranging charge that can be anything from yelling in public, honking a car horn, playing music too loud, and countless other actions.  Because the definition of Disorderly Conduct is so broad, police often use the charge as a “catch all” when they cannot think of a better reason to arrest a person.  Often these cases against a person can be extremely weak, or sometimes even patently ridiculous.

To prove a charge of Class “C Disorderly Conduct, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:

  1. 1.     Knowingly;
  2. 2.     Did an act in such an unreasonable manner that;
  3. 3.     It alarmed and disturbed another, and;
  4. 4.     Provoked a breach of the peace. 

All of these four elements can be difficult for a prosecutor to prove, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can make it even more difficult and hold the state to their burden of proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

One common factor that leads to a person being charged with Disorderly Conduct is alcohol intoxication.  In many such cases, the level of alcohol impairment can be critical.  The state must prove that the alarming act was done “knowingly”.  If the person charged with the offense was so extremely intoxicated as to be completely unaware of their actions, it could actually be a defense to the charge.  This is a very difficult affirmative defense to present, however, and is best done by an experienced attorney.

In the absence of extreme intoxication, the first element required to be proven by the State can usually be easily accomplished.  The other three can be much more difficult.  Acting in an “unreasonable manner” is a very subjective standard and the definition of unreasonable can vary widely from one person to another based on their life experience.  This variation can often make it hard for a prosecutor to prove to a jury of 12 people that your actions were unreasonable.  Secondly, the person who was “alarmed and disturbed” by your conduct must be available to testify that they were, in fact, alarmed and disturbed.  Often these witnesses upon cross-examination will reveal that they really weren’t all that alarmed or disturbed after all.  It is also important to note that in Illinois, the person who is “alarmed and disturbed” cannot be a police officer.  Finally, the definition of what is a “breach of the peace” can be just as hard for a prosecutor to define as what constitutes an “unreasonable act”.  An experienced criminal defense attorney can point out these weaknesses in the State’s case against you.

Most of the other actions that are defined as “Disorderly Conduct” involve the communication of information to an authority about an emergency situation that the person charged with the offense knew was not true.  These can be a false report about domestic abuse (Class “B” Misdemeanor), a false report to public safety agency (Class “A” Misdemeanor), calling 911 without cause (Class “4” Felony), or even a bomb threat (Class “3” Felony).  These are more serious offenses and you will need experienced legal representation if you are charged with one of these offenses.

If you have been charged with any type of Disorderly Conduct, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Hall, Rustom & Fritz to help you with your case.

RESPONSIVE, CAPABLE AND ATTENTIVE LEGAL ADVICE.  PEORIA, ILLINOIS LAWYERS WHO CARE ABOUT THE RESULTS WE OBTAIN FOR OUR CLIENTS.

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Below is the precise statute published in the Illinois Compiled Statutes.  If you are charged with this offense, email Jeff Hall at jhall@hallrustomfritz.com.

(720 ILCS 5/26-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 26-1)
Sec. 26-1. Disorderly conduct.(a) A person commits disorderly conduct when he or she knowingly:

(1) Does any act in such unreasonable manner as to

            alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace;
(2) Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any
            manner to the fire department of any city, town, village or fire protection district a false alarm of fire, knowing at the time of the transmission that there is no reasonable ground for believing that the fire exists;
(3) Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any
            manner to another a false alarm to the effect that a bomb or other explosive of any nature or a container holding poison gas, a deadly biological or chemical contaminant, or radioactive substance is concealed in a place where its explosion or release would endanger human life, knowing at the time of the transmission that there is no reasonable ground for believing that the bomb, explosive or a container holding poison gas, a deadly biological or chemical contaminant, or radioactive substance is concealed in the place;
(3.5) Transmits or causes to be transmitted a threat
            of destruction of a school building or school property, or a threat of violence, death, or bodily harm directed against persons at a school, school function, or school event, whether or not school is in session;
(4) Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any
            manner to any peace officer, public officer or public employee a report to the effect that an offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed, knowing at the time of the transmission that there is no reasonable ground for believing that the offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed;
(5) Transmits or causes to be transmitted a false
            report to any public safety agency without the reasonable grounds necessary to believe that transmitting the report is necessary for the safety and welfare of the public; or
(6) Calls the number “911” for the purpose of making
            or transmitting a false alarm or complaint and reporting information when, at the time the call or transmission is made, the person knows there is no reasonable ground for making the call or transmission and further knows that the call or transmission could result in the emergency response of any public safety agency;
(7) Transmits or causes to be transmitted a false
            report to the Department of Children and Family Services under Section 4 of the “Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act”;
(8) Transmits or causes to be transmitted a false
            report to the Department of Public Health under the Nursing Home Care Act, the Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Act of 2013, or the ID/DD Community Care Act;
(9) Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any
            manner to the police department or fire department of any municipality or fire protection district, or any privately owned and operated ambulance service, a false request for an ambulance, emergency medical technician-ambulance or emergency medical technician-paramedic knowing at the time there is no reasonable ground for believing that the assistance is required;
(10) Transmits or causes to be transmitted a false
            report under Article II of “An Act in relation to victims of violence and abuse”, approved September 16, 1984, as amended;
(11) Enters upon the property of another and for a
            lewd or unlawful purpose deliberately looks into a dwelling on the property through any window or other opening in it; or
(12) While acting as a collection agency as defined
            in the Collection Agency Act or as an employee of the collection agency, and while attempting to collect an alleged debt, makes a telephone call to the alleged debtor which is designed to harass, annoy or intimidate the alleged debtor.
(b) Sentence. A violation of subsection (a)(1) of this Section is a Class C misdemeanor. A violation of subsection (a)(5) or (a)(11) of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor. A violation of subsection (a)(8) or (a)(10) of this Section is a Class B misdemeanor. A violation of subsection (a)(2), (a)(3.5), (a)(4), (a)(6), (a)(7), or (a)(9) of this Section is a Class 4 felony. A violation of subsection (a)(3) of this Section is a Class 3 felony, for which a fine of not less than $3,000 and no more than $10,000 shall be assessed in addition to any other penalty imposed.

A violation of subsection (a)(12) of this Section is a Business Offense and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $3,000. A second or subsequent violation of subsection (a)(7) or (a)(5) of this Section is a Class 4 felony. A third or subsequent violation of subsection (a)(11) of this Section is a Class 4 felony.

(c) In addition to any other sentence that may be imposed, a court shall order any person convicted of disorderly conduct to perform community service for not less than 30 and not more than 120 hours, if community service is available in the jurisdiction and is funded and approved by the county board of the county where the offense was committed. In addition, whenever any person is placed on supervision for an alleged offense under this Section, the supervision shall be conditioned upon the performance of the community service.

This subsection does not apply when the court imposes a sentence of incarceration.

(d) In addition to any other sentence that may be imposed, the court shall order any person convicted of disorderly conduct under paragraph (3) of subsection (a) involving a false alarm of a threat that a bomb or explosive device has been placed in a school to reimburse the unit of government that employs the emergency response officer or officers that were dispatched to the school for the cost of the search for a bomb or explosive device. For the purposes of this Section, “emergency response” means any incident requiring a response by a police officer, a firefighter, a State Fire Marshal employee, or an ambulance.

(Source: P.A. 97-38, eff. 6-28-11; 97-227, eff. 1-1-12; 97-813, eff. 7-13-12; 97-1108, eff. 1-1-13; 98-104, eff. 7-22-13.)

 If you are charge with Disorderly Conduct, it is critical that you to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you.  Attorney Jeff Hall is a former prosecutor in Central Illinois and he can assist you.  Email Jeff at jhall@hallrustomfritz.com.