Have you been accused of contempt of court? Are you worried that you will be? Keep reading to learn the facts about this charge, and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to request a free legal consultation if you have been charged with this crime.
The Definition of Contempt of Court
Contempt of court refers to certain illegal types of illegal conduct, including:
- Disrespectful behavior in a court proceeding
- Publishing false accounts of court proceedings
- Disobeying lawful written orders of the court
- Refusing to answer questions as a witness without protection from a legal exception (such as the 5th Amendment)
- Disobedience of the terms of a lawful injunction
- Violating a protective order involving domestic violence, adult dependent abuse, or elder abuse
Of all these situations that can lead to a charge of contempt of court, the most common is disobeying a court order.
The Prosecutor Must Prove Various Facts to Convict a Person of Contempt of Court for Violating a Court Order
In order for the prosecution to earn a conviction for contempt of court for violating a court order, they must show that a judge issued a legal order, the defendant knew about the order, and had the ability to comply with the order, yet they willfully failed not to do so. Both adults and juveniles can be charged with violating court orders.
Legal Defenses to Contempt of Court
There are legal defenses to charges of contempt of court. The most common defense is showing that there was no willful violation of the court order. Other defense options include showing that the original reason for the contempt of court charge was not valid or that the defendant has been falsely accused.
Remember that it not enough for a defendant to have violated an order – they must have done so willingly. A valid defense is showing that the defendant did not purposely disobey the order. For example, if a court issues a lawful order preventing two people from interacting with one another, and one of them runs into the other at a restaurant purely by accident, then they did not willfully break the order – it was accidental, and therefore they are not guilty.
Let Us Help You Determine the Best Way Forward
If you are facing charges of contempt of court, or you are worried that you will, then we urge you to contact a criminal defense attorney. You can request a free legal consultation from Law Office of Michael L. Fell by calling us at (949) 585-9055.