How Serious is Contempt

What Does Contempt Mean – Is It Serious?

Is Contempt In Court Serious?

When it comes to dramatic television shows, I’m a sucker for those that focus on courtroom drama. This type of television is so exciting as it takes a real-world experience and makes it dramatic and must-watch. Sometimes, these courtroom dramas are taking place in the real world, but I am referring to the fictional dramas where people don’t get murdered. Television today is truly masterful in keeping people’s eyes glued to television.  Especially a show about a certain lawyer that is often acting in contempt of court. However, after hearing this term is thrown out over and over again I had to ask myself, “what does contempt mean?” Although I watch courtroom dramas, I could never keep up with the judicial terms as there are so many to remember. 

Is Contempt In Court Serious?So, what does contempt mean? Contempt is often referred to when someone in the courtroom is “out of order” as Al Pacino once put it. Contempt is what someone is held to when they are acting against the integrity of the court. Most notably, contempt is used when a person is attempting to derail the court’s proceedings and attempt to turn things in their favor, or simply waste time. This could also mean disrespecting a court official or withholding information and not allowing the court to move forward, or even more serious offenses.

Should the decision realize that the person has wilfully profaned an order or the court, the penalty could see a financial fine, jail time, or both. A decision could suspend a penalty to present the person an opportunity to go with conditions obligatory at the hearing, like obliging with the order he or she is in contempt of. This is important to consider if you ever have the unfortunate pleasure of being in the courtroom.

Mitigating the Risk of Contempt

To mitigate the risk of causing contempt in court, one should hire an attorney to represent them and allow them to speak on their behalf. Criminal charges have been placed on those held in contempt before, so there’s no use in adding another charge to your name. Contempt can even be seen as indirect, so perhaps someone doesn’t mean to be withholding the proceedings. 

Contempt Charges

Being held in contempt can often be seen in family cases. For example, if a member of the family has failed to follow through with an action that the court-mandated. This includes a parent that is restricting the court-mandated visitation laws. This can lead to a contempt case that would require both parties to report back to court to be able to solve the issue.

Contempt charges are a significant matter. Once an exceeding case is found to be wilfully profaned and out of order, a person then faces potential punishments which will find them harming the case. If you’re facing a contempt citation in your law case, contact a skilled divorce attorney as presently as attainable. 

Your professional could also be ready to resolve the difficulty through negotiating the terms or an alternate agreement with the opposite party’s team. If a brand new agreement is reached, your attorney can file a modification with the court so it becomes the official record.

When is Contempt Most Often Seen?

Contempt ChargesThe judge is the usual member of the court that holds contempt and often uses it to hurry along proceedings to allow the jury to reach a decision faster and allow for justice to be served. Not as fast as vigilante justice, but quicker nonetheless.

Attorneys can also be held in contempt as they are trying to disrupt the proceedings and allow for the court to move on.

Contempt is a serious matter when it comes to courtrooms, so serious that the United States Congress has even been held at contempt from time to time. This was written into the Constitution at the Continental Convention, way back at the beginning of the United States.

As with a lot of the constitutional writings, the founding fathers made sure that it would be extremely difficult for Congress to misuse their power and forcibly get a decision out of a court case. Their investigative power can be considered a determent of the first amendment. This is quite a big issue when Congress begins to act unconstitutional.

Types of Contempt

There are two main types of contempt that are seen in the courtroom: civil and criminal. Civil contempt is often seen when an individual has failed to comply with the sanctions that a judge has put in place. Criminal acts are more commonly used to dissuade any further acts of contempt.

Criminal contempt charges become separate charges from the underlying case. In contrast to contempt of court sanctions, contempt of court charges might live to tell the tale once the resolution of the underlying case. One charged with contempt of court typically gets the constitutional rights sure to criminal defendants, together with the proper counsel, right to place on the defense, and therefore the right to a jury trial in sure cases. Charges of contempt of court should be proved on the far side an affordable doubt.

Indirect and Direct Contempt

Direct contempt happens within the court space typically with a judge in attendance.  Refusing to retort to a lawyer or the judge while under oath, for instance, is direct contempt.  Disrespect directed at the choice is another example of this kind of contempt.

Indirect contempt, however, is also common and might happen outside of the room. The intention behind an indirect contempt action is to mock, belittle, or otherwise delay proceedings in court Withholding proof that’s a part of a case, for instance, is often indirect contempt of court. This is all very serious and should be avoided if one is trying to not gain any additional charges. 

Contempt Cases

Contempt cases are often handled without a jury. This has come under scrutiny though as it allows a judge to have ultimate power over the court and the case. This is a problem because a single judge could be biased against the defendant and lead to an unfair trial.

Contempt of court is seen as a type of disturbance that will impede the functioning of the court. The judge could impose fines and/or jail time upon anyone committing contempt of court. The person is sometimes released upon his or her agreement to meet the needs of the court.

Civil contempt of court might involve acts of omission. The judge can issue the use of warnings in most things that will cause someone to be charged with contempt if the warnings are neglected. it’s comparatively rare that an individual is charged for contempt while not initially receiving a minimum of one warning from the decide.

Related Questions

Can contempt lead to jail time?

The short answer is yes as it can either be punitive or remedial sentencing. If the sentencing is a punishment then it can often lead to nearly 6 months in jail. This is ultimately up to the judge though. It makes it tough for those who are being judged by a harsh judge in the case. This is because the judge has the ultimate say-so in whether you are guilty of contempt. In the remedial situation, jail time can be threatened until a person has complied with what they’re being held for contempt with. Contempt of Court

What happens if someone fails to appear for a contempt trial?

Failing to appear for court during a contempt action has completely different ramifications relying upon whether or not someone is bringing the contempt action or whether or not he or she is indeed the one being suspected of violating court orders. If the person filing the contempt motion fails to arrive for a court date, whether or not the advisement or the evidentiary hearing, his or her contempt motion is thrown out.

In some jurisdictions, the court doesn’t care if the party accusing the contempt shows up for the advisement, just as long as his or her lawyer is there. If the person against whom the contempt is brought fails to arrive, the opposite party has numerous choices. Generally, that party can inquire the court to issue a warrant for the arrest of the suspect and also the posting of a fine.

Is someone entitled to an attorney when contempt charges are brought against them?

In most circumstances, an attorney is only provided when a person is facing a punitive sentence. In this case, it would be jail time for the person being held for contempt. An attorney is not usually needed for civil contempt cases, but might be necessary when facing criminal contempt charges. This can be a problem though as people in divorce cases can believe that they are entitled to an attorney, when in fact, they are not. This can also lead to them facing a larger alimony charge. For this reason, know when you need to hire your attorney.

Matt McWilliams

Deposition Academy is an online website created to guide those in the legal videographer industry or those interested in starting a legal videography business. The site has expanded to cover a variety of legal topics that are related to depositions and the deposition process. Our team of writers have written for a variety of legal blogs and website.