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Criminal Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

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Disorderly conduct is an intentionally broad crime designed to cover a wide range of conduct that disturbs the peace. In Illinois, the crime of disorderly conduct carries a wide range of penalties depending upon the nature of the alleged conduct and other factors. If you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct in Illinois, it’s important to take the charges seriously. Even a misdemeanor conviction can have long-lasting consequences for your career, your reputation, and your life. Continue reading to learn about the penalties for disorderly conduct in Illinois, and if you’ve been arrested or charged with disorderly conduct or other crimes in Illinois, call an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

The Illinois law criminalizing disorderly conduct is codified at 720 ILCS 5/26-1. The statute is incredibly broad, covering a long list of unlawful behaviors that may cause “alarm” or otherwise disturb the peace. The first, catchall provision covers “any act” that is committed in “an unreasonable manner” so as to “alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace.” The statute goes on to specify a long list of conduct that qualifies as disorderly conduct, including but not limited to:

  • Causing a false fire alarm
  • Calling in a threat of violence to a school (e.g., a bomb threat)
  • Filing a false police report
  • Calling 911 without a valid reason
  • Filing false reports of violence
  • Filing false reports to the Department of Children and Family Services
  • “Peeping Tom” lewd conduct on someone else’s property

The catchall “breach of the peace” provision is intentionally vague and meant to cover a wide range of conduct. Acts commonly prosecuted under the catchall provision include public urination, public fights, loud music, and rioting.

What Are the Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Illinois?

The severity of the charges for disorderly conduct depends upon the nature of the alleged conduct and the specific subsection under which the defendant is charged. For violation of the catchall provision, the defendant can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. For filing a false police report or committing lewd conduct, the defendant may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Violations of other provisions can be chargeable as a Class B misdemeanor.

At the other end of the spectrum, more serious conduct such as causing a false fire alarm or threatening a school is chargeable as a Class 4 felony. Calling in a fake bomb or chemical attack threat is chargeable as a Class 3 felony.

Class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to $1,500 in fines. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail or two years of probation, and up to $1,500 in fines. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail or two years of probation, and up to $2,500 in fines.

For the most serious conduct: Class 4 felonies are punishable by one to three years in prison. A conviction for a Class 3 felony can result in two to five years in prison, thousands of dollars in mandatory fines, restitution, and other consequences.

Call a Zealous Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago and Carol Stream

If you or someone you care about is facing disorderly conduct charges or other criminal charges in Illinois, protect your future and your family by seeking representation from experienced, effective Chicagoland criminal defense lawyers. Contact the Carol Stream offices of Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt at 630-665-9600.

Johnson Westra Broker Whittaker & Newitt, P.C.

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Phone: 630-665-9600

Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt, P.C. is located in Carol Stream, St. Charles and Chicago, IL and serves clients in and around Wood Dale, Glen Ellyn, Lisle, Addison, Lombard, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Aurora, Villa Park, Oak Brook, Naperville, Westmont, Hinsdale, Woodridge, Clarendon Hills, Elmhurst, Darien, Eola, Lemont, Stone Park, Franklin Park, Mooseheart, North Aurora, Melrose Park, Streamwood, Robbins, Romeoville, Schiller Park, Bartlett, River Grove, Plainfield, Elmwood Park, Bolingbrook, Elk Grove Village, Batavia, Rolling Meadows, Boone County, Cook County, De Kalb County, Du Page County, Grundy County, Kane County, Kankakee County, Kendall County, Lake County, Lee County, Mchenry County, Ogle County and Will County.

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