These Behaviors Could Lead To A Charge Of Contempt Of Court

If you're already in a situation in which you're dealing with the legal system, it's imperative that you avoid a contempt of court charge. While your criminal defense attorney may be able to get such a charge dismissed, doing so can present a significant amount of effort at a time that your attorney is already working hard at representing you. It's important to understand how to behave in court and how to respond to orders from the judge. If you have any doubts, your own criminal law attorney can explain what you need to do. Here are three behaviors that could lead to a contempt of court charge:

Behaving Inappropriately In Court

A wide range of inappropriate courtroom behaviors can potentially lead to being charged with contempt of court. These could include speaking out before you're granted a chance to speak, using inappropriate language, or other similar behaviors. Generally, a judge will warn you if you do something that borders on contempt of court; for example, he or she may tell you that one more similar outburst could lead to this charge. You can also expect that your attorney will caution you against certain behaviors.

Failing To Heed A Lawful Order

During your first court appearance, your judge will often give you a series of lawful orders that you'll need to follow between court appearances. Failing to follow one or more of these orders could result in being charged with contempt of court. For example, in a case of domestic assault or driving under the influence of alcohol, the judge is apt to instruct you to not consume any alcohol. If the court later learns — perhaps from you failing a random alcohol test, or maybe even from a subsequent arrest — that you have consumed alcohol, a contempt of court charge is likely.

Interfering With A Witness

In some situations, a witness can hurt your case, which means that if you're free from custody between court appearances, you might seek an interaction with the witness. Intimidating him or her is obviously an egregious act, but even attempting to coerce the witness into changing his or her story is against the law and is apt to result in a contempt of court charge. When you're charged in this manner, it indicates that you aren't showing remorse for whatever alleged crimes have gotten you in this situation, and that can be bad news for your case.