Criminal Contempt of Court

Definition - What does Criminal Contempt of Court mean?

A criminal contempt of court is a serious breach of a court order that a judge deems as criminal in intent or behavior. It is the discretion of the judge in the case to determine if a person is held in criminal or civil contempt. If an order of criminal contempt is made, the defendant is immediately jailed.The charges that arise from a charge of this nature are held separetely from the original case and the defendant is taken to court and allowed the same constitutional rights as any other criminal defendant such as the right to an attorney.

Justipedia explains Criminal Contempt of Court

An action has to be seriously damaging or egregious for a judge to rule that someone has committed a criminal contempt of court. This can be anything. Since the result can harm a witness or the integrity of a case it is determined with the judge's discretion. The fine for such an offense can range in length to 10 years imprisonment and the monetary fine is not capped. A person charged with this does not have to be directly attached to a case, but could be the result of someone attaching themselves to the case such as a reporter leaking privileged information that results in the death of a witness and the collapse of a case.

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