Contempt of court, often referred to as “contempt,” is the intentional disregard of a specified court order. In other words, an individual deliberately neglects the court’s ordered rules.
There are two main types of contempt; Criminal and Civil. Punishment varies on the extremity of the actions performed when charged.
Civil Contempt of Court
Civil contempt most often occurs when someone who has been issued a court order and knowingly fails to appear or violates the order. Failure to comply with a court order may result in injury to the private party’s rights. An example of this would be when an individual refuses to pay child support.
Punishments for Civil Contempt
If you are charged, the courts will either restore the rights of the party who was wronged or proceed with the underlying issue. In most cases, civil contempt sanctions end with the party complying with the court order.
Criminal Contempt of Court
Criminal contempt refers to insults or disrespectful actions directed to an authority of the court. Those held in contempt can include attorney, witnesses, jurors, audiences of the courtroom, officers, or the employees of the court.
Punishments for Criminal Contempt
Punishments can include immediate incarceration, additional charges to the underlying proceeding, losing the rights to a trial by jury, rights to counsel, and even the rights to defense.
Family Law Contempt
In many cases, charges occur during family law court orders, some of the most common include:
- Contempt for Child Support
- Divorce Proceedings Contempt
- Failure to Comply with Separation Agreement
- A Party Violating Protection Order