On this Page:
- How to Beat a Disorderly Conduct Case Charged Under 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(1)
- What are my settlement options?
- Disorderly Conduct Under Illinois Law 720 ILCS 5/26-1
- Disorderly Conduct Under Chicago Law 8-4-010
- Related Blog Posts
If you are charged with Disorderly Conduct in Illinois, your three goals are (1) avoiding jail time, (2) preventing a conviction from being entered on your record, and (3) avoiding a guilty plea. You can achieve all these goals by winning a Motion to Dismiss, negotiating a dismissal with the government, or beating the case at trial. Although Disorderly Conduct is punishable by jail time, if this is your first offense and depending on the facts of your case, it is not very likely that you will serve jail time. There is, however, a significant chance that you will be forced into a guilty plea or conviction if your case is not properly handled from the start. A Disorderly Conduct conviction can never be removed from your record. With the increased use of background checks you may not get a chance to explain yourself to a potential employer or school that conducts a background check and discovers the charge on your record. Better to effectively confront this accusation now than to have it affect your quality of life for years to come.
This page gives a very general overview of the procedures, penalties, and defenses involved in an Illinois Disorderly Conduct charge. Every case is different, and there is no substitute for having the facts of your case analyzed by an experienced Illinois Disorderly Conduct lawyer.
Disorderly Conduct in Illinois is a broad crime that includes many situations and behaviors ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. The police favorite, however, is Disorderly Conduct under section (a)(1) of the statute because its vague prohibition against any act that "alarms," "disturbs," or "provokes a breach of the peace" can be used to describe almost any action that they find personally disagreeable.
1. Freedom of Speech Can Trump Disorderly Conduct Accusations. People are often arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct because of something they said or how they said it. Perhaps you are accused of cursing, yelling, talking back to a cop or using foul language and were arrested merely because another person or policeman took offense. Such behavior is often protected by the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of Free Speech. In such cases, it is important to file a Motion to Dismiss Based on First Amendment Freedom of Speech. If the motion is successful, your case will be dismissed for interfering with your constitutional right to free speech.
2. Subpoena Any Video of the Incident as Soon as Possible Followed by a Court Order to Preserve and Produce the Video. There are few things more satisfying than meeting with a client shook up by an unjust arrest and then finding out there is a video of the whole incident proving that the accusations are false. Video is everywhere and can totally undercut the charges against you resulting in a dismissal of all charges. The problem, however, is two-fold: (1) some people or business will not turn over video without a subpoena, and (2) video is routinely destroyed, sometimes as often as every 24 hours. For these reasons, it is crucial to find, preserve, and protect any video with a subpoena and court order to the video holder to preserve and produce the video for your defense.
3. Cases Where the Cop is Claiming to be the Victim of Disorderly Conduct are Vulnerable to Attack. Police in Illinois are legally presumed to be professionals who cannot be easily victimized by an alleged Disorderly Conduct. Any time a police office is claiming to have been victimized by your alleged Disorderly Conduct.
For a more detailed look at this line of defense, please read my blog article "Disorderly Conduct in Illinois: Legitimate Crime or Tool to Harass?"
4. Legal and Technical Defenses. Disorderly Conduct includes such a broad variety of conduct that it is impossible to give a complete list of defenses. This area of the law is rich with legal and technical defenses that are best discussed in person.
I recognize that your goal is to protect your record and get your case dismissed, with as little cost, time, effort and risk as possible. Next to prompt investigation, the first service an Illinois Disorderly Conduct lawyer should provide is to attempt to short circuit the case against you with an agreement with prosecutors that gets your Disorderly Conduct case dismissed in exchange for your participation in out-of-court programs. Although not available in all cases, you may be able to enter into an agreement with prosecutors that would get your case dismissed in exchange for anger management counseling, community service, or some other diversionary agreement. I have often been successful in arranging such agreements with prosecutors who recognize that education and support, not harsh punishment, creates the most benefit for the accused as well as for society as a whole.
For a more detailed look at settlement options, please read my blog post "Avoiding a Criminal Conviction in Cook County and Illinois".
|Alarming or disturbing conduct.||Conviction + 30 days in jail and/or $1500 fine.|
|Causing a false fire alarm.||Conviction + 1-3 years in jail and/or $25,000 fine.|
|Causing a false bomb alarm.||Conviction + 2-5 years in jail and/or $3,000-$10,000.|
|Causing a false report of a crime.||Conviction + 1-3 years in jail and/or $25,000 fine.|
|Peeping into another's home.||Conviction + 1 year in jail and/or $2500 fine.|
|Provoke a breach of peace.||Conviction + $500 fine.|
|Public intoxication||Conviction + $500 fine.|
|Failure to obey "lawful" dispersal order||Conviction + $500 fine.|
Call for a Free Consultation
If you are concerned about a Disorderly Conduct charge affecting your record, I can guide you through the complex road ahead. If there is a way to beat your case I will find it. If there is a way to settle your case quickly while keeping your record clean, I will find it. On the way, you will always have direct access to me personally and your questions and concerns will be answered promptly.
Call me at 312.893.5099 or contact me online for a free consultation.