Think twice before you a pull a prank or do something that could potentially harm others. Something as silly as dropping a watermelon off of a tall building could land you in serious legal trouble. A Chicago man, who recently did just that, has learned this lesson the hard way.
According to reports, the man dropped the large fruit from the roof of a parking deck in Elmhurst and narrowly missed pedestrian walking on the sidewalk below. He has been arrested for disorderly conduct and may face criminal charges for his antics.
Illinois Disorderly Conduct Laws
In Illinois, disorderly conduct laws are in place to protect public safety. While many behaviors can be classified as “disorderly conduct” in Illinois under 720 ILCS 5/26-1, conduct can basically be broken down into three categories: (1) disturbing the peace, (2) making false reports, and (3) intimidating debtors.
Disturbing the Peace
It is a crime to knowingly do “any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace”
Any behavior that is unreasonable and could upset or harm others could potentially be considered disorderly conduct. Examples could include:
- Yelling or arguing in public
- Using “fighting words” to provoke a physical fight
- Playing loud music at an unreasonable hour
- Interfering with a business’s normal operations
- Throwing objects or touching someone without their consent
- Entering someone else’s property and looking through their window for a lewd purpose.
This is a fairly broad definition that can cover a wide range of dangerous behaviors. If the Chicago man who was arrested for disorderly conduct faces criminal charges, he will likely be accused of violating this specific law.
Disturbing the peace is typically a Class C Misdemeanor in Chicago. Punishments can include
Making False Reports
Disorderly conduct is also defined to include making false reports which tie up essential public services. It is a crime of disorderly conduct to knowingly:
- Make a false report of a fire
- Make a false report of a bomb or explosion
- Make a false report of a threat of school violence
- Make a false report to a public safety agency
- Making a false report of a crime to police
- Calling 911 without a legitimate purpose
- Making a false report to the Department of Children and Family Services
- Making a false report to the Department of Public Health under the Nursing Home Care Act, the Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Act of 2013, the ID/DD Community Care Act, or the MC/DD Act; and
- Making a request for an ambulance or emergency vehicle when there is no demonstrated need.
All of these behaviors are viewed as conduct that waste valuable public services and put others in harm’s way. When emergency personnel are routed to these false calls, people who really need assistance may be left without care.
While making false reports can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in Chicago, most of these crimes will be charged at the felony level. The charge will depend on the specific violation and the extent of any harm that was caused.
It is also a crime of disorderly conduct for a collection agency or employee to knowingly try to collect a debt by making a “telephone call to the alleged debtor which is designed to harass, annoy or intimidate” that person.
There is a very specific way in which debts must be collected in Illinois. Debt collectors who harass their alleged debtors on the phone can face criminal charges. It is not necessary that collectors actually speak to their debtors; calling at all hours of the night or leaving threatening voicemails can be enough to violate the law.
Intimidating debtors is a business offense in Chicago, punishable by a fine of up to $3,000 per offense.
Defending Disorderly Conduct Charges in Chicago
An arrest for disorderly conduct does not necessarily mean that you will be charged with a crime. It is important to defend yourself the moment you are placed under arrest. Refuse to answer any questions and demand to speak with an attorney. Your attorney will review your case and determine which defense(s) may be most appropriate for your specific case. These may include:
- False accusation
- Acting without knowledge
- Lawful purpose for placing an emergency call
- A reasonable person would not have been harmed or offended by your conduct, or
- Evidence obtained in violation of your rights.
At the Kostopoulos Law Group, we will thoroughly investigate your alleged crime and create a legal strategy that minimizes the consequences of your arrest. Our aggressive approach often allows us to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. Contact our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today to find out how we can help you fight your arrest for disorderly conduct. Your first consultation is free, so do not hesitate to call us now.