Violation of a court order or disrespecting a court's authority can result in your being found in contempt of court. Depending on the basis for the contempt charge, the penalties can be severe. An attorney can ensure your rights are being protected and mount a defense. Contact our law offices for help with your situation.

Civil Contempt

Civil contempt occurs when a person refuses to obey a court order. The penalty for civil contempt can include imprisonment for an indefinite period of time, until the party in contempt agrees to perform their legal obligation. Elements of civil contempt include the existence of a lawful order, knowledge of the order, the ability to follow the order, and the failure to comply. The jailed offender will be released from jail as soon as they are in compliance with the order, or when imprisonment has clearly failed as a coercive tactic and is merely serving as a punishment.

Criminal Contempt

Criminal contempt is the strongest sanction a judge has to control the action in a courtroom and enforce court orders. If someone disrespects the court's authority, disrupts its processes, or in some other way obstructs the administration of justice, they will be found in criminal contempt of court. Where civil contempt is meant to be coercive, criminal contempt penalties are meant to be punitive.

Direct Contempt occurs in the presence of the judge, and may include things like insulting a judge, disrupting a trial, or disobeying a subpoena to produce evidence. The presiding judge may choose to impose sanctions immediately, or punishment may be decided at a subsequent hearing. Indirect contempt usually consists of disobedience of a prior court order. In criminal contempt hearings there is an opportunity to present a defense to the charges.

Contact our Law Offices

If you or a family member has been jailed over a contempt charge, our attorneys can help you understand your options and protect your legal rights. If you face criminal contempt charges, you should take advantage of the best legal defense available. Contact the Boston contempt attorneys at our law offices today.

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