suspect arrested by police

Contempt of court is deliberately disregarding the authority or function of a court. Most of the times, judges will issue specific orders in their rulings which should be strictly adhered to by the responsible persons.

However, some people choose to ignore deliberately without giving the court clear reasons on why they failed to follow the orders. A good example is when one is ordered to appear before the court because of a DUI case on a specific date but fails to show up.


It is during this period that the judge can order for your immediate arrest and have you presented before the court. One may face criminal contempt which refers to the deliberate intention of disregarding a judge’s order. There should be clear proof that indeed one disobeyed a particular order.

One can also be charged with civil contempt which refers to the deliberate disobedience to any judgment, decree or court process. Judges will use sanctions related to civil contempt to pressurize a person into acting in accordance with the disobeyed order.

Direct contempt of court is one which occurs in the presence of a judge. The judge can make a direct ruling without sitting for a hearing. There are several punishments one may face if they disregard a court order. The following are consequences that come with contempt of court.



Long Jail Term

Issues to do with contempt of court may lead to an increased jail term. Disregarding court orders or summons may be added up to your list of charges which will see you get slapped with a lengthy jail term.  Criminal contempt cases can result in jail time of up to 93 days for every incident. It is essential for one to adhere to court orders to avoid such a punishment.

Monetary Damages

Some contempt of court cases may see you get penalties like paying monetary damages to the injured. This is different from the court fine because the money is directly awarded to the complainant. The court or the judge are the ones who determine the amount you should pay in monetary damages.


Disregarding court orders may see one being slapped with hefty fines. Criminal contempt in the USA can attract penalties of up to $7000. It is different in some states and counties.

Failure to pay a fine may see the court take the money from your wages or profits. The only way to avoid getting slapped with hefty fines is adhering to court orders.