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Illinois Disorderly Conduct Defense Attorney

Disorderly Conduct is considered to be a 'kitchen sink,' crime meaning that specifically what someone is doing doesn't really violate a Statute in Illinois; however, their conduct is of such a nuisance that the legislature has deemed it acceptable to allow officers to arrest individuals for activities that are more or less just alarming. The Statute is purposefully written to be extremely vague as to what constitutes disorderly conduct so as to be a 'catch-all,' crime allowing officers a wider net to justify an arrest.

The penalties for Disorderly Conduct vary based upon which specific provision of the Statute it's alleged that you have committed. The Statute provisions itself can be grouped into five (5) separate subsections which consist of: (1) breach of the peace, (2) false reports, (3) school threats, (4) invasion of privacy, and (5) debt collector harassment.

If you've been charged with Disorderly Conduct in Illinois, it is imperative that you speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible to go over the specific facts of your case. Joseph S. Angelillo has been representing those alleged to have committed a crime in Illinois since 2016 for a litany of different crimes ranging from petty offenses to Class X felonies.

Contact us now to schedule your free consultation.



Defining Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly Conduct is defined in 720 ILCS 5/26-1, which is an extremely long and comprehensive Statute, which lays out certain specific actions which are unique on their face but all fall under what is considered to be "Disorderly Conduct,"

A person commits disorderly conduct when he or she knowingly:

  1. Does any act in an unreasonable manner which alarms or disturbs another individual; or

  2. Submits a false report of a fire to authorities; or

  3. Submits a false report of a bomb to authorities; or

  4. Threatens violence or destruction to a school; or

  5. Files a false police report; or

  6. Files a false report of a crime or safety issues; or

  7. Calls 911 without a valid reason to; or

  8. Files a false report to the Department of Children and Family Services; or

  9. Files a false report regarding a nursing home or mental institution detailing abuse or neglect of the staff; or

  10. Files a false request for an ambulance to authorities; or

  11. Files a false report of violence or;

  12. Engages in what is colloquially known as being a "peeping tom,"; or

  13. Harassment by a collection agency.


720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(1) is the only subsection that covers "breach of peace," and is considered to be the broadest provision in the Statute. Under this provision, an individual can be charged with Disorderly Conduct "when he or she knowingly does any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace."

Some examples of actions commonly charged under this provision are:

  • Loud music (especially at late hours into the night)

  • Public Brawls/Fights

  • Violent Protests

  • Disrupting a public assembly

  • Public Belligerence ie. Shouting/Swearing in public

  • Public Intoxication/Urination

The penalties for being found guilty of this provision is a Class C misdemeanor which carries with it a sentence of 30 days in the county jail or up to 2 years court probation, and a fine of up to $1,500.00. While this is the least serious potential charge under the Statute, I would still strongly advise you speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately to go over your options moving forward for your case.


720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(2) through (10) covers a wide variety of instances which involve the filing of false complaints/reports. The purpose of these provisions is obvious on its face, to prevent citizens from filing false reports to relevant agencies thus wasting the agencies time (and your tax dollars, might I add).

Unlike "Breach of Peace," a violation of any of these subsections carry with them far more serious punishments dependent under which subsection you're accused to have violated. Those penalties vary from a Class B Misdemeanor all the way up to a Class 3 Felony.


Society has a vested interest in insuring that any threats made to school are severely punished, as such the Legislature has carved out a(3) and a(3.5) penalizing the threats of violence or bombing of a school. Both provisions (a(3) and a(3.5)) are considered to be Class 4 Felonies, and are punishable by up to 3 years in State prison and a fine of up to $25,000.00.


720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(11) criminalizes the act of being a "peeping tom," in which an individual invades another's privacy by looking through another individual's home window or other opening in order to spy on them. This charge additionally requires that the invasion of privacy occurred "for a lewd or unlawful purpose."

Anytime the Legislature includes a specific purpose into the law, such as in this case being "for a lewd or unlawful purpose," it becomes an element that the State needs to prove at any trial involving this charge in order to properly support a guilty verdict. The State's Attorney can't jump into your head and know why you were doing it, and thus, this element will need to be proven contextually - and a good attorney can poke holes in the State's arguments supporting this element.

Being found guilty of this subsection is considered to be a Class A Misdemeanor - meaning it is punishable by a sentence in the county jail of between 1-364 days, a fine of up to $2,500.00 or a combination of jail time and a fine.


Collection agencies are permitted to contact individuals in order to obtain payment for an individuals debts or past due bills. However, the Statute provides protections to debtors by preventing the collection agency from "harassing, annoying, or intimidating,' the debtors in an effort to get them to remit payment on their outstanding balances.

As hysterical as it would be for a violation of this charge to result in the collection agency to serve jail time, a violation of this provision is only considered to be a business offense. As such, while no jail time is provided as a potential penalty - being found guilty of this offense does levy a hefty fine of $3,000.00 against the collection agency.

If you've been charged with Intimidation contact Angelillo Law today.

Disorderly Conduct is a very serious charge, regardless of which subsection you're charged with, which requires an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney. What you will need is an attorney to vigorously analyze the States evidence in order to find avenues that can be challenged in Court and potentially have the charges dropped against you. Contact my office today to schedule a free consultation.

Attorney Joseph S. Angelillo

Attorney Joseph S. Angelillo has been representing those alleged to have committed crimes in the State of Illinois since 2016.