A court order is a ruling, direction or instruction issued by a court or judge requiring a person to do or abstain from doing certain acts. Willful violation of a court order is a crime in California, charged as Contempt of Court and prosecuted under California Penal Code section 166. If you are accused of violating a court order, we can help. Call and schedule a consultation with one of our seasoned Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to learn what legal defenses and options are available to you.
California Penal Code Section 166: Contempt Of Court Law
California Penal Code section 166 defines criminal Contempt of Court as any of the following acts:
- Disorderly or disruptive behavior during court proceedings disrespecting the authority of the court;
- Any breach of the peace including loud noise or other disturbance that interrupts court proceedings;
- Resisting or disobeying a court order, such as a restraining order or an injunction;
- Refusing to be sworn in as a witness or if sworn , any refusal to answer any important questions;
- Publicizing any false or grossly inaccurate report of the court proceedings;
To convict a person of violating a court order (Contempt of Court), the prosecutor must prove:
- there was a valid legal court order;
- the person knew of the contents of the court order; and
- the person willfully disobeyed the court order.
Penalties For Violating Court Orders
Criminal Contempt is usually charged as a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail, a fine of up to $1000 and three years of informal probation. There are increased penalties for aggravated Criminal Contempt. These include:
- Violation of a protective order (restraining order) when a person has a prior stalking conviction; or
- Owning or purchasing a firearm in violation of a protective order ;
- Violation of a protective order (restraining order) in a Domestic Violence or Elder Abuse case.
These aggravated cases may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. A felony is punishable by up to three years in state prison. If charged as a misdemeanor, the punishment is a maximum of one year in county jail and three years informal probation.
Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers
If you or someone you know is facing Criminal Contempt (Violating a Court Order) charges in Los Angeles County you may have defenses to challenge the charges and reduce the penalties. Be smart and exercise your constitutional right (5th Amendment) to remain silent and call the experienced attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners for a no-cost evaluation of your case.