Contempt (Contempt of Court)
Contempt, also called
Contempt of Court, refers to the willful disobedience of a court order or some other conduct
that disrupts or disrespects a court proceeding. There are two types of
Contempt of Court:
Civil Contempt and
Civil Contempt refers to the willful disobeying of a court order. The remedy
for Civil Contempt in California is a fine and possible jail time. The
fine or jail is intended to make someone obey a court order and not to
punish him. Examples of Civil Contempt include (but not limited to):
- Failing to pay child support;
- Violating a Stay-Away order issued by the Court;
- Failing to show up for a court hearing;
- Failing to attend court-ordered parenting classes;
- Failure to comply with the court-ordered child visitation schedule.
Criminal Contempt is behavior that disobeys, disrespects, attacks or undermines
the authority, integrity and dignity of the court. In California, Contempt
of Court is charged under Penal Code section 166 and punishes the following behavior:
- Disobeying a Court Order;
- Engaging in loud and rude acts in court that disrupts a court proceeding;
- Refusing to be sworn in as a witness and refusing to answer significant
and important questions during a court proceeding;
- Violating a protective order (restraining or stay-away order) involving
domestic violence or elder and dependent adult abuse cases;
- Publishing a false account of court proceedings.
Criminal Contempt is generally prosecuted as a misdemeanor punishable by
up to six months in county jail, three years of informal probation and
a fine of $1000. The penalties for the more serious acts of Contempt of
Court can range from one year in county jail to three years in state prison.
These acts include:
- Violation of a Stay-Away order in a domestic violence case;
- Violation of a criminal protective order with a prior stalking conviction; and
- Possessing a firearm in violation of a Court Order.
For more information on Contempt of Court refer to
Violating A Court Order in Los Angeles.
Consult with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys and learn
what legal options are available to you and how we can help you.