A person can be charged with contempt of court if they violate any court orders which are binding upon them.
In the criminal court process, the most common basis for a contempt citation is when a witness is personally served to appear in court, and does not appear. At that point, the prosecuting attorney has the option of seeking the issuance a contempt citation from the court. They will then need to personally serve the contempt citation on the party that previously failed to appear in court. That person will then have a hearing to determine whether or not they actually obeyed the subpoena, and whether the subpoena was in fact validly served. A contempt case involves the same legal rights as any criminal case, in that the prosecuting attorney must establish the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
Another common scenario for a charge of contempt of court is where a defendant appears in court while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Should any court personnel determine that the defendant is either drunk or high, you can immediately be arrested, cited for contempt of court, and transported to the county jail. You will not be released until you post a bond.
Sometimes, defendants, or even attorneys or witnesses, are charged with contempt based upon an act of perceived disrespect towards the court, or due to disruption of court proceedings. For example, utilizing foul language while addressing the judge, the prosecuting attorney, or one of the parties to a case can easily result in one’s being held in contempt.
Contempt of court carries a maximum sentence of six months in the county jail, and also a possible fine. Retaining an attorney can assist in minimizing any sentence of incarceration, or in some cases eliminating any sentence altogether. Regardless of the facts and circumstances of your case, if you have been charged with contempt of court, it is important to contact a defense attorney immediately to discuss your rights, reasonable expectations, and a strategy for achieving an optimal outcome in resolving your case.
To schedule a free initial consultation, call 720-257-5346 or fill out a free case review form, and a representative from the Law Office of Kimberly Diego will contact you as soon as possible.