Consequences of Contempt of Court

Contempt of Court is a willful disregard for the authority or function of a Court. Punishments depend on whether the charge is criminal, civil or other types of cases. Here are details for each of these scenarios and the consequences that may result.

Illegal Contempt Of Court

Criminal Contempt
An individual can be found in Contempt of Court if they exhibit a willful intent to disobey a judge’s order. There must be absolute proof beyond a reasonable doubt that disobedience of authority has occurred. The result can be jail time of up to 93 days per incident and/or fines up to $7500 for each act of contempt.

Civil Contempt
This sanction is a softer punishment and is intended to impose conditions until the individual in contempt is compliant with the Court. The intent of the individual’s contempt can be willful or unwillful but there must be clear and unequivocal evidence to support the sanction. Penalties can include jail time and a fine but are usually imposed until the individual is compliant. Additionally, monetary damages may be awarded to the injured party. If you are found in contempt, you will be allowed the opportunity by the Court to rectify the situation.

Other Contempt Charges
When actual damages can be proven, the Court may decide to award compensation to the injured party.

Direct Contempt of Court can be ruled when it occurs in a judge’s presence, in which the judge can make an immediate ruling without further hearings. Indirect Contempt outside the presence of a judge does not result in immediate punishment. Instead, it requires proof of contempt charges in an affidavit or other form of documentation, which then leads to a public hearing.

Probation violations can result in a hearing, in which the Court has the authority to order the defendant to go to jail.

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