Contempt of Court Definition and Punishment in Arizona

what is contempt of court in arizona

Contempt of Court Definition and Punishment in Arizona



A wide range of behaviors, actions, or even lack of actions, can qualify as contempt of court. The legal definition of contempt of court can be difficult to understand. Today we’ll share a few examples that explain what contempt of court means.

What is “Contempt of Court” in Arizona?

Arizona law 12-861 states, “A person who wilfully disobeys a lawful writ, process, order or judgment of a superior court by doing an act or thing therein or thereby forbidden, if the act or thing done also constitutes a criminal offense, shall be proceeded against for contempt [of court]…” 

Examples of Contempt of Court

Because the definition allows for flexibility, there could be an almost endless list of examples for being in contempt of court. We will cover four main examples here. 

      • Failing to show up in court when you have a scheduled appearance. 
      • Refusing to pay child support.
      • Disrupting court proceedings
        • (including using your phone when a judge is talking, or leaving it on loud).
      • Insulting the judge or disrespecting the judicial process. 

There are some serious consequences to being found in contempt of court. For example, if you refuse to pay child support, your custody arrangement may be altered without your consent, because you are in contempt of court. In other cases, you might find yourself facing jail time.  

Contempt of Court Punishment in Arizona

When you are found in contempt of court, you will most likely receive a misdemeanor charge as punishment. Fines also apply for a failure to appear in court of $500 or more. A driver’s license suspension may be ordered as well if your criminal charge is a DUI or traffic related offense

If you were charged with contempt because you failed to appear in court, and the case is linked with a felony charge, you could be charged with an additional felony. A class five felony is typically given in this scenario. A class five felony holds a standard presumptive sentence of 1.5 years in prison with an aggravated sentence of 2.5 years.

Felony Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ

Todd Coolidge is an expert negotiator with fantastic success in pre-file representation. Settling a case before it goes to trial means that you get a better shot at lighter penalties. You might even be able to avoid conviction entirely. Mr. Coolidge has helped his clients stay out of court, get their charges dismissed, and receive lighter sentences or lighter fines. 

If you are facing criminal charges in Phoenix, Chandler, or the greater metro area, you need a a trustworthy criminal defense attorney in your corner from the start. The focus of Coolidge Law Firm is to defend our clients exclusively against all types of criminal charges including felonies, DUI, domestic violence, traffic offenses, and more.

Contact our offices today to secure the help you need.






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