Contempt Of Court In Florida

Contempt of Court is a refusal to obey any legal order, mandate, or decree made or given by any judge. A charge of contempt of court may involve failing to appear at a scheduled hearing or failing to abide by a condition of the bond the Judge ordered. In many cases, contempt can also involve the defendant’s behavior and actions in the courtroom towards the Judge after being given an order by the Judge. A person convicted of contempt of court faces up to 1 year in the County Jail.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for Contempt of Court, call us today at (954) 522-9997 to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney about your situation or schedule a Free Initial Consultation.

Florida Statute 38.22 – Power To Punish Contempts

Each court may punish contempt against it, whether such contempt is direct, indirect, or implied, and in any such proceeding, the court will hear and determine all questions of law and fact.

Florida Statute 38.23 – Contempts Defined

A refusal to obey any legal order, mandate, or decree, made or given by any judge either in term time or in vacation relative to any of the business of the said court, after having been duly informed of it, will be considered as contempt and will be punished accordingly. But nothing said or written, or published, in vacation, to or of any judge, or of any decision made by a judge, shall, in any case, be construed to be contempt.

Florida Statute 775.02 – Punishment Of Common-Law Offenses.

Each court may punish contempt against it, whether such contempt is direct, indirect, or implied, and in any such proceeding, the court will hear and determine all questions of law and fact.

Florida Rule Of Criminal Procedure 3.830 – Direct Criminal Contempt

Criminal contempt may be punished summarily if the court has seen or heard the behavior constituting the contempt committed in the court’s presence. The judgment of guilt of contempt shall include a recital of those facts on which the adjudication of guilt is based.

Prior to the adjudication of guilt, the judge shall inform the defendant of the accusation against the defendant and inquire as to whether the defendant has any cause to show why he or she should not be adjudged guilty of contempt by the court and sentenced, therefore. The defendant shall be given the opportunity to present evidence of excusing or mitigating circumstances.

The judgment must be signed by the judge and registered. The sentence shall be pronounced in open court.

Florida Statute 38.22 – Power To Punish Contempts

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Criminal contempt, other than the cases given for in rule 3.830 related to direct contempt, will be executed as follows:

(a) Show cause order: The judge, on his own initiative or on the affidavit of any person having knowledge of the facts, may issue and sign an order addressed to the defendant, indicating: the essential facts constituting the alleged criminal contempt and requiring the defendant to appear in court to justify why the defendant should not be found in contempt of court. The order specifies the time and place of the hearing, a reasonable time being allowed for the preparation of the defense after service of the order on the defendant.

(b) Motions; Answer. The defendant, personally or by counsel, may move to dismiss the order to show cause, move for a statement of particulars, or answer the order by way of explanation or defense. All motions and the answer must be in writing, unless the judge indicates otherwise. A defendant’s failure to file a motion or response should not be considered an admission of contempt.

(c) Order of Arrest; Bail. The judge may issue a defendant’s arrest order if he has reason to believe that the defendant will not appear in response to the show cause order. The accused is released on bail under the conditions provided by law in criminal matters.

(d) Arraignment; Hearing. The defendant may be arraigned at the time of the hearing, or prior thereto at the defendant‘s request. A hearing to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant shall follow a plea of not guilty. The judge may conduct a hearing without assistance of counsel or may be assisted by the prosecuting attorney or by an attorney appointed for that purpose. The defendant is entitled to be represented by counsel, have compulsory process for the attendance of witnesses, and testify in his or her own defense. All issues of law and fact shall be heard and determined by the judge.

(e) Disqualification of Judge. If the contempt charged involves disrespect to or criticism of a judge, the judge shall disqualify himself or herself from presiding at the hearing. Another judge is appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

(f) Verdict; Judgment. At the end of the hearing, the judge signs and records a finding of guilty or not guilty. There should be included in a judgment of guilty a recital of the facts constituting the contempt of which the defendant has been found and adjudicated guilty.

(g) Sentence; Indirect Contempt. Prior to the pronouncement of sentence, the judge shall inform the defendant of the accusation and judgment against the defendant and inquire as to whether the defendant has any cause to show why the sentence should not be imposed. The defendant shall be afforded the opportunity to present evidence of mitigating circumstances. The sentence shall be pronounced in open court and in the presence of the defendant.

For more information, Call the R. David Williams Law Firm today at (954) 522-9997 to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney about your situation or to schedule a Free Initial Consultation. David Williams represents individuals in criminal defense and DUI cases in the South Florida Florida area, including the cities of Hallandale, Hollywood, Dania Beach, Sunrise, Cooper City, Davie, Weston, Miami, North Miami, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth and others.

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