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Articles

What is Criminal Contempt?

Date: Sep 13th, 2019 By SMA Law Group

Many people have never heard of criminal contempt. If they have, their knowledge is generally limited to what they see on TV shows. However, if you or someone you love is facing a criminal contempt charge, you certainly need to know what you are up against. At the SMA Law Group, we wanted to take some time to answer the question – What is criminal contempt? How does it affect you?

This can mean various things in Pennsylvania. If you have any further questions after reading this brief guide, please call us and schedule a free consultation about your case.

Defining criminal contempt

The term criminal contempt can be defined broadly but is generally regarded as disobedience or open disrespect for the court. Criminal contempt can arise out of both criminal and civil court proceedings.

  • Criminal contempt charges punish conduct that violates the court’s rules as opposed to the criminal statute of the state or municipality.
  • Criminal contempt laws vary from state to state.
  • A person can face criminal contempt even if they do not violate criminal law or statue.

It has always been seen as important for courtrooms and court proceedings to be run professionally and respectfully. Without order, the courts could not operate.

Some examples of contempt include:

  • Disrespecting the rules of the court
  • Refusing to pay child support
  • Violating a child custody order
  • Refusing a property transfer order

A person can also face criminal contempt for violating an order or agreement of the court. Pennsylvania statute says that a person who violates a court order or agreement can be fined up to $1,000 and put in jail for up to six months. Additionally, criminal contempt violations can negatively affect the outcome of a person’s case. Because these violations usually occur with an ongoing case, a person who is criminal contempt runs the risk of aggravating the judge overseeing their case. That is never a good thing.

A person should avoid criminal contempt charges by obeying court orders and the rules of the court. However, of a person is found in contempt, they can generally obtain relief from the contempt order by complying with the rules of the court or the original rules/directives of a court order.

Do I need to contact an attorney for this?

If you or a loved one is facing criminal contempt charges in Pennsylvania, you need to secure legal assistance as soon as possible. At the SMA Law Group, our knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer is ready to get to work on your case. Our goal is to build a defense strategy as we work to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. We will work to prove that you did not willfully violate the rules of the court or willfully refuse a court’s order or agreement.

What is criminal contempt? We hope we have answered that for you today, but if you need any further clarification, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 1-888-976-2529.

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