In the state of Illinois, anyone who engages in conduct that is unreasonable and may alarm others may be considered disorderly conduct. For instance, if someone were to make a false claim about a fire or a bomb, that person could face disorderly conduct charges. Other examples include making up a report of child abuse when none is taking place or calling 911 for an illegitimate purpose.
An individual is who is convicted on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct could spend up to a year in jail and could also be fined as much as $2,500. People who are convicted on a felony charge of disorderly conduct could spend up to five years in prison as well as fined up to $10,000.
There are three main defenses that an individual could assert if charged with such a crime. Defendants could argue that they were entrapped by the police or that other egregious conduct led to the charge. It may also be possible to claim that they were exercising their First Amendment rights when making a statement. Finally, an individual acting in self-defense may take action without it being deemed disorderly conduct.
While these charges are serious, a criminal defense attorney can often construct a strategy to combat them. If this is a first offense and the defendant has no prior criminal record of any kind, the attorney might see if the prosecutor agrees to a lesser penalty of community service in exchange for the defendant entering a plea of guilty. A First Amendment defense could work in some cases as well.