Many people wrongly assume that being charged with contempt of court is not a serious offense. While it is most often charged as a misdemeanor, in some cases, it can be charged as a felony and can come with serious consequences. Read on to learn more, and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 if you have been charged with this or another court crime in California.
Potential Penalties for Misdemeanor Charges of Contempt of Court
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor count of contempt of court, you should expect to spend up to six months in county jail and pay fines of as much as $1,000. The court might allow you to do community service instead of paying the fine.
In certain cases, a misdemeanor conviction of contempt of court can lead to more serious consequences. For example, if the contempt of court charge involves violating the terms of a domestic violence protective order, violating a protective order when the defendant has a previous conviction for stalking or the ownership or possession of a firearm in violation of a court order. These are still misdemeanor charges, but the punishment could be up to one year in jail.
Felony Charges of Contempt of Court
If a person violates a restraining order for the second or subsequent time, they can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony as long as the previous violation was within seven years, the restraining order issued for domestic violence, sexual injury of a child, elder abuse, or dependent abuse.
If a person is charged with and convicted of felony contempt of court, they could face 16 months in state prison, two years in state prison, or three years in state prison.
Contempt of Court Charges Do Not Generally Affect Gun Rights
The good news for some is that being convicted of contempt of court does not generally affect a person’s right to own a gun. Remember that certain laws in California (mostly felonies) can lead to a person losing their right to own a gun. Contempt of court is not one of those charges.
There Are Other Crimes Often Charged Alongside Contempt of Court
It is often the case that there are other charges filed along with contempt of court. The most common example are violating a restraining order, failure to appeal, and stalking. These can all have their own consequences in addition to the consequences for the contempt of court conviction.
The bottom line is this: if you have been accused of or charged with contempt of court, then you need to contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Reach out to Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 now to request a free legal consultation.