Contempt of Court

Definition - What does Contempt of Court mean?

Contempt of Court is an order handed down by a judge in a court of law to any party to a legal action where their behavior impedes the court proceedings. The judge usually issues a warning prior to ruling a person to be in Contempt of Court. The charge may result in either a fine or jail time. A person may be charged with Contempt of Court in instances where they fail to obey a lawful court order or where they behave in a disruptive, disrespectful, or violent way towards the presiding judge.

WorkplaceTesting explains Contempt of Court

A charge of Contempt of Court must meet several conditions in order to be upheld. The person found in contempt must have been aware of, and have the capacity to comply with, the order. The order must be deemed lawful and it must be proven that the person disobeyed the order. A single offense is typically punishable by fine whereas a repeat offense is most likely to be punishable by jail time.

Contempt of court can be classified according to whether it was committed in the presence of the court or not. Direct contempt of court occurs in court, such as disrupting a court proceeding, while indirect contempt occurs outside the court, such as failing to adhere to a court order.

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