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Easy to Understand Definition of Contempt


The term contempt of court refers to a court order that is issued to an individual during court proceedings as a result of his/her disobedient or disrespectful behavior. There are a number of different reasons that an individual may be found to be "in contempt".

For example, if an individual acts disorderly during court proceedings or is not respectful of the judge, he/she may be charged with contempt of court. This can also occur if an individual repeatedly disrupts the court proceedings, despite prior warnings to control his/her behavior, or if he/she jeopardizes the integrity of the case in any way.

In the event that a judge finds an individual to be in contempt of court, the judge can issue sanctions and impose sentences on the offending individual. This type of contempt is called direct contempt. Court is not the only location in which an individual can be in contempt.

In some instances, an individual who is guilty of domestic violence, stalking, or similar behavior will not be imprisoned. Instead, he/she will be ordered by the court to stay away from his/her victim and to cease all contact with his/her victim. In the event that he/she ignores the specifications of his/her court order and visits or contacts his/her victim, he/she can be found in contempt of court orders. This type of contempt is known as indirect contempt.

If an individual is found to be guilty of indirect contempt, he/she may be imprisoned or issued hefty fines. Indirect contempt is not specific to domestic violence cases. It can occur if an individual violates any type of court order, regardless of what his/her original violation was

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