Disrespecting or insulting the authority of the courts in any manner is regarded as contempt of court. Contempt charges are usually lodged against those who stand in the way of the court and try to restrict the justice system. The law gives judges power to decide who they want to hold in contempt of their court.
Contempt of court can be divided into two parts; civil contempt and criminal contempt. In civil courts, judges often consider it contempt if a defendant fails to show up in court. Contempt charges may be used to make sure that the defendant complies with a specific court order and follows well-defined instructions.
Criminal contempt charges are serious and could result in severe punishment regardless of the outcome of an existing case. Complying with the court's decision does not ensure that the defendant will not have to face punishment. There are several factors considered by the judge when deciding to press for contempt charges.
Defendants have several rights in contempt cases, and the prosecution must prove the charges beyond any reasonable doubt. If the charges are proven, the defendant could face hefty fines and even jail time, depending on the severity of their crime. It is possible that the same judge who pressed for contempt charges against the defendant also presides over the contempt of court case.
If you have been charged with civil or criminal contempt, it is advisable to contact an experienced attorney. The attorney will go through the charges against you and devise a strong defense strategy for you.