Nearly everyone has heard the term “contempt of court” a time or two on television and in the media. And it’s usually because someone in the courtroom said something inappropriate or caused enough of a ruckus that the presiding judge said, “Enough is enough. You are in contempt of court.” And just like that, the bailiff whisks the offending party away.
While this is one way to describe what could happen if you get out of line during a legal proceeding, there are other ways to be held in contempt that you might not realize — and in some cases, you don’t even have to be standing in court for it to happen.
More About Contempt of Court
The Department of Justice’s general definition of contempt of court is “An act of disobedience or disrespect toward the judicial branch of the government, or an interference with its orderly process. It is an offense against a court of justice or a person to whom the judicial functions of the sovereignty have been delegated.” Any sign of disobedience or disrespect toward a judge or the judicial system — whether inside a court of law (direct contempt) or outside of it (indirect) — can land you in contempt.
So, while you could be held in contempt of court for disrespectful remarks, the same can be true for the following actions:
- Refusing to obey a court order or disobeying the judge’s instructions
- Not showing up for a hearing or trial
- Lying to a judge
- Withholding evidence
- Physically attacking a judge or court personnel
- Refusing to comply with a custody arrangement
- Failing to rise when the judge enters the courtroom
It’s important to note that your actions could fall under one of two types of contempt proceedings: criminal or civil. The judge dictates which one based on its punishment, which can include jail time, fines, and community service.
How Do I Avoid Being Held in Contempt of Court?
- Comply with all court orders within the allotted timeframe
- Show up to all court appearances
- Be respectful at all times — especially when speaking to the judge
- Work through your attorney
If you’re facing a legal dispute, turn to the experienced DFW attorneys at Christman | Daniell Attorneys. Our team is dedicated to helping families, individuals, and businesses navigate the complexities and stress of legal disputes. Our highly skilled attorneys focus in Family Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Business & Corporate Law, Real Estate, and Mediation. We provide intelligent solutions and results-oriented advocacy.
Please call Christman | Daniell for your legal needs today!
Looking for family law services in Collin County, Texas? Christman | Daniell is your premier choice. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the legal landscape, our skilled team is dedicated to helping families navigate complex legal matters. Whether it’s divorce, child custody, or adoption, trust Christman | Daniell to provide compassionate and effective representation for all your family law needs throughout Collin County.