Disorderly conduct is a broad term that covers a variety of criminal activities. While charges for disorderly conduct may seem insignificant, a conviction can carry serious criminal penalties. In some cases, you could face up to five years behind bars. You can limit the consequences of your arrest by hiring an experienced Chicago disorderly conduct attorney to handle your case.
Gus Kostopoulos is a former prosecutor with more than 18 years of legal experience. Over the past two decades, he has successfully litigated thousands of criminal matters. He understands how the prosecution will approach a criminal case for disorderly conduct and can use his experience to his client’s advantage. He knows that an early and aggressive approach will significantly increase the chances of achieving a positive outcome. Contact the Kostopoulos Law Group today for a free consultation.
Disorderly Conduct in Chicago
In Chicago, disorderly conduct is a term used to describe a wide range of criminal activities. The law is intended to criminalize behavior that is destructive, harmful, and offensive conduct that is not captured by other criminal statutes. You can be charged with disorderly conduct in Chicago, as defined in 720 ILCS 5/26-1, if you:
- Disturb the peace;
- Make a false report;
- Make threats about a school;
- Invade someone’s privacy; or
- Harass someone as a debt collector.
Disturbing the Peace
What does it mean to disturb the peace? In Chicago, disturbing the peace is generally charged when you engage in loud and disorderly conduct that disrupts a sense of common decency. Loud verbal fights and the use of offensive language can trigger criminal liability for disturbing the peace. Examples of disturbing the peace could include:
- Fighting in a public space;
- Shouting offensive or harmful words in public;
- Using language that is likely to incite violence;
- Unlawful assembly in a public area;
- Public intoxication;
- Blasting loud music late at night; and/or
- Allowing a dog to bark continuously at all hours of the night.
It is a crime to make false reports to public officials. Falsely reporting a crime, abuse, or activity takes up valuable police time and resources. This can cause serious harm to individuals who really need assistance. You can be charged with disorderly conduct for making false reports about:
- Bomb threats;
- Fire alarms;
- Crimes in progress or suspected criminal activity;
- Safety issues;
- Child abuse or neglect;
- Elder abuse or neglect.
Calling 911 without a valid reason and purpose is a criminal act under the Chicago disorderly conduct statute.
Recently, the number of school-related shootings and violent crimes has risen tremendously. Illinois lawmakers reacted by making it a crime to falsely report threats of violence or destruction at school. You can be charged with disorderly conduct for calling in fake bomb threats, falsely reporting the presence of a gun, or falsely reporting threats of violence against a student or teacher.
Invasion of Privacy
If you are a “Peeping Tom” you can be charged with disorderly conduct for invasion of privacy in Chicago. The law prohibits a person from entering another’s property and, “for a lewd or unlawful purpose,” looking into that person’s home through a window or other opening. Spying on another person in their home, without their knowledge or consent, is a crime of disorderly conduct.
Debt Collector Intimidation or Harassment
Debt in America is at an all-time high. Lawmakers in Chicago had to take action to prevent debt collectors from continuously harassing and intimidating debtors in the city. Debt collectors can be charged with disorderly conduct if they:
- Act as an employee of a collection agency;
- Make a phone call to a debtor;
- Attempt to collect a debt; and
- Harass, annoy, or intimidate that person.
Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Chicago
The penalties for disorderly conduct depend on the specific act that you are accused of committing. Each of the categories of disorderly conduct carries a slightly different penalty.
Disturbing the Peace: Disturbing the peace is a Class C Misdemeanor in Chicago and is punishable by 30 days in a Chicago county jail, 2 years probation, and/or $1,500 in fines.
Making a False Report: Making a false report can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Chicago.
- False Safety Report: Class A Misdemeanor (12 months in jail, probation, or $2,500 in fines)
- False Reports of Abuse/Neglect: Class B Misdemeanor (6 months in jail, $2,500 in fines)
- False Crime Reports: Class 4 Felony (3 years in prison, $25,000 in fines)
- False Reports of Child Abuse/Neglect: Class 4 Felony
- Unlawful 911 Calls: Class 4 Felony
- False Bomb Report: Class 3 Felony (5 years in prison, $10,000 in fines)
School Threats: Making false reports about a school bomb threat is a Class 4 Felony in Chicago and is punishable by 3 years in an Illinois state prison and $25,000 in fines.
Invasion of Privacy: Spying on another person in their home is a Class A Misdemeanor in Chicago and is punishable by 1 year in a Chicago county jail, probation for 2 years, and/or fines of up to $1,500.
Debt Collector Harassment or Intimidation: Collecting a debtor is a business offense in Chicago, which means that the debt collector’s company will be fined for the activity.
Defenses to Disorderly Conduct in Chicago
Disorderly conduct is a broadly defined crime that encompasses a wide variety of behaviors. Just because you are arrested for disorderly conduct does not mean that you will be charged or convicted of the crime. When you hire an experienced Chicago disorderly conduct attorney to defend you, we will devise a custom legal strategy to limit the consequences of your arrest. This will include an in-depth investigation to determine which legal defenses may be appropriate for your case. Defenses to allegations of disorderly conduct in Chicago include:
- False accusation;
- Mistaken identity;
- Speech or conduct protected by the First Amendment;
- Self-defense; and/or
- Unlawful arrest.
Chicago Disorderly Conduct Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges for disorderly conduct in Chicago do not hesitate to contact the Kostopoulos Law Group. We are skilled criminal defense attorneys with more than three decades of legal experience and can help to limit the consequences of your arrest. Charges for disorderly conduct may seem minor, but a conviction can have serious consequences. A criminal record that reflects a conviction will make it difficult to rent an apartment, find gainful employment, and participate in important government programs. If you need a loan, banks may be hesitant to work with you and approve your loan application. Your chances of a successful outcome – and avoiding these consequences – increase when you hire a Chicago disorderly conduct attorney to defend you.
Call our Chicago office today to set up a free consultation. We will review your alleged crime, determine the best legal strategy for your case, and explain your legal rights. You have the power to take control of your future, so do not hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can help you.