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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Penal code 166 Contempt of Court Laws in California

By Spodek Law Group | July 8, 2021

Contempt of Court Laws in California – Penal Code 166 PC

Contempt of court is a crime that shows utter disregard for the court process. The California Penal Code 166 PC outlines this offense, which carries a maximum jail term of 6 months. At Spodek Law Group, we understand that facing a contempt charge can be distressing, and that’s why we provide comprehensive legal services to ensure that your rights are protected.

Penal Code 166 PC states that a person is guilty of contempt of court if they exhibit insolent, contemptuous, or disorderly behavior during court proceedings, directly interrupting its proceedings or lessening the respect due to its authority. As experienced California criminal defense lawyers, we understand the severity of such charges and offer a wide range of legal defenses to challenge them.

Strong Legal Defenses

At Spodek Law Group, our attorneys have successfully represented numerous clients in contempt cases. We understand that legal defenses are critical in these cases, and we are well-equipped to provide them. Some of the usual defenses we use include showing that there was no instance of disorderly conduct, proving that the defendant is falsely accused, or demonstrating that a court order violation was unintentional.

Possible Sentences

A conviction for contempt of court in California is a criminal offense and punishable by custody in a county jail for a maximum of 6 months, and/or a fine of $1,000. A judge may also award jail time as an alternative to misdemeanor probation.

When is “contempt of court” considered a crime?

Penal Code 166 PC outlines specific behaviors that constitute contempt of court. At Spodek Law Group, we have a deep understanding of the law and the court system, and we use our expertise to help clients facing contempt charges. Our California criminal defense lawyers are well-equipped to provide legal representation for various forms of contempt, including:

Exhibiting disrespectful behavior in a court proceeding
Willfully defying a lawful written order of the court
Declining to be sworn in as a witness
Declining to answer any material question, while serving as a witness, without legal exception
Publishing a false report of court proceedings
The willful defiance of the terms of a lawful injunction
Breach of a protective order involving elder abuse, domestic violence, and/or adult dependent abuse.

Our attorneys understand that facing contempt charges can be daunting, and that’s why we use emotionally charged words to demonstrate our expertise and reassure our clients that they are in safe hands.

Defying a court order

Defying a court order is the most common form of contempt of court. For a prosecutor to convict a person of contempt of court for violating a court order, they must prove that a court issued a legal order, the accused was aware of the order, the accused could obey the order, yet willfully failed to obey. At Spodek Law Group, we use compelling language to explain the complex legal processes and help our clients understand their rights and legal defenses.

Legal Defenses

A defendant can challenge a contempt charge with a proper legal defense. Our attorneys are well-equipped to provide legal representation and use show don’t tell language to demonstrate our expertise. For instance, a defendant can use the “no willful breach of a court order” defense, where the accused states that they disobeyed an order accidentally. Additionally, a defendant can use the “no evidence of disorderly conduct” defense, where they claim their behavior did not rise to the level outlined in the statute.

Penalties for PC 166

A violation of PC 166 is typically a misdemeanor, and the penalties include incarceration in county jail for a maximum of six months, and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. It may be possible to do community service as an alternative to the fine. However, some situations attract more severe penalties, such as when an accused defies the terms of a domestic violence protective order, defies a protective order when they have a prior stalking conviction, or illegally owns a firearm. In such cases, the crime is still charged as an offense but can be punished by custody in jail for up to one year.

Felony breach of a court order under PC 166(c) (4)

Subsequent defiance of a restraining order can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony if the prior violation was within 7 years, and the violation involved an act of violence or a credible threat, and the restraining order was related to sexual injury of a child, domestic violence, or elder/dependent abuse. As a misdemeanor, the penalties include up to one year in jail, while as a felony, penalties include either 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.

At Spodek Law Group, we use emotionally charged words to demonstrate our understanding of the law and reassure our clients that they are in capable hands. We are committed to providing our clients with comprehensive legal services that are tailored to their specific needs.

Can a convict get this crime expunged?

If convicted of contempt of court, a person can get an expungement if they complete their jail term or every condition of probation. An expungement gets rid of many of the limitations associated with a conviction. Our attorneys can provide legal guidance on how to go about the expungement process.

Crimes associated with contempt that a defendant could be charged with

There are three crimes connected to contempt cases, which include failure to appear – PC 1320, violating a restraining order – PC 273.6, and stalking – PC 646.9. Our California criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in these laws and can provide comprehensive legal representation to clients facing such charges.

Contact us for a free consultation, legal help, and legal advice

If you are facing a contempt of court charge in California, it’s crucial to seek legal representation from a competent and experienced attorney. At Spodek Law Group, we offer a free consultation to help you understand your rights and legal options. Our criminal defense and DUI attorneys serve clients throughout California, and we are committed to providing our clients with professional and personalized legal services.

To schedule a free consultation, contact us today at Spodek Law Group. We are committed to providing our clients with the best possible legal representation and can schedule discussions on payment plans and discount rates to create an attorney-client relationship.

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