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Contempt of Court
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Legal Defenses and Penalties for Contempt of Court_Failure to Obey a Court Order

Committing any violation of Penal Code 166 is considered a misdemeanor that can have several potential penalties, depending on the particular details of the case.

What Penalties Can You Expect for Violating Penal Code 166? 

As this type of offense is typically a misdemeanor, its punishable by:

  • County jail time for up to six months.
  • A fine of up to $1,000. 

Along with that, it’s possible that you need to commit to doing community service in lieu of the fine. However, in some situations, you may even face more severe penalties when you have done the following:

  • Have violated the terms of a domestic abuse protective order.
  • Have previous stalking convictions and have violated a protective order.
  • Have possessed or owned a firearm in violation of an order of the court.

Usually, the crime is still considered a misdemeanor, but it can have more severe consequences, such as a year of jail time.

What Are the Legal Defenses You Can Use? 

If you get accused of contempt of court, there are several ways to object with a good legal defense. The three most widely used defenses include:

  • You were falsely accused.
  • There was no disorderly conduct.
  • There was no willful violation of a court order. 

In such scenarios, it’s the prosecutor's job to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you have violated Penal Code 166.

No Willful Violation of a Court Order

As you probably know, disobeying a court order can be charged only when the accused has willfully violated an order. This means that the defense can say that he/she did not mean to disobey the order, and so the prosecution has a wrong assumption of the situation. 

For example, imagine that a superior court issues an order directing two co-workers (Pamela and Chris) to not interact with one another. One evening Pamela accidentally comes in contact with Chris at a store. Both parties cannot be guilty of contempt as there was no willful contact. 

No Disorderly Conduct 

You can recall that this statute includes behavior that can be classified as “disorderly conduct.” This means that the defendant can try to show his innocence by pointing out that his actions did not violate the statute. 

Falsely Accused

Falsely accused is pretty common under these types of laws. It tends to happen especially in cases where the disobedience of an order occurs when: 

  • A relationship has gone bad, and one of the parties wants to get back at the other.

The defense has to argue that the accused has been unjustly blamed in such cases. 

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law group patiently await your call.

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