Disorderly conduct is a criminal offense that encompasses various illegal behaviors. Even simply behaving in an obnoxious way can result in a disorderly conduct conviction. Essentially, it includes any behavior that alarms others, disturbs the peace or threatens public safety.
It is important to understand what Illinois law defines as disorderly conduct and what the possible penalties are.
Definition of disorderly conduct
This broad term covers a wide variety of criminal acts. Illinois law prohibits disorderly conduct for the purpose of keeping the peace and upholding public safety. Here are some specific disorderly behaviors that are punishable by law:
- Making a false report about a fire, fire alarm, bomb, explosive device, past crime, crime in progress or a neglected or abused child
- Requesting emergency services, such as calling 911 or asking for an ambulance, when it is unnecessary
- Filing a false report with the Department of Public Health
- Using intimidation or harassment as a debt collector
- Entering another person’s property or looking into a home for an unlawful purpose
However, it is important to remember that disorderly conduct is something of a “catch-all” term. While the law refers to these specific behaviors, virtually any act that is disturbing or alarming may constitute criminality.
Penalties for disorderly conduct
Disorderly conduct can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. Generally, misdemeanor disorderly conduct refers to behaviors that disturb the peace. Felony charges generally result from behaviors that pose a threat.
Misdemeanor offenses are punishable by up to 30 days, six months or one year of jail time, depending on whether it is a Class C, B or A misdemeanor. There may also be a fine ranging from $1,500 to $2,500. A Class 4 felony offense can result in a prison sentence from one to three years. Class 3 felonies can lead to imprisonment lasting two to five years. Felony fines can go up to $25,000.