Contempt of Court In New Jersey

If you’ve been inside a courtroom one of the first things you will notice is an increased level of formality and decorum.  Whether you are dealing with a family case, a murder trial or a simple speeding ticket, a court of law must maintain a level of respect and dignity.  This is because courtrooms conduct very serious proceedings and decisions that have a tremendous impact on a person’s life are being made.   

There are many customs and rules in a courtroom to make sure that everything operates smoothly and to keep a high level of respect and credibility for the court and its proceedings.   Before court begins, the clerk usually checks people in and the officers make sure everyone is seated with their cellphones turned off.  When the judge enters the room everyone is asked to stand briefly.  This is done to recognize that the judge is the principal and chief of the courtroom and that he or she is in charge of everything that goes on within it.

What Are The Penalties For Being Charged With Contempt of Court?

When someone acts in a way that disrupts court proceedings the judge has the authority to charge that person with contempt of court and have the individual arrested.  A judge can charge any individual within the courtroom of contempt including jurors, people sitting in the audience and lawyers.

A judge in New Jersey is given authority to punish someone for contempt under N.J.S.A.  2A:10-1.   You can be imprisoned and fined for being found in contempt of court.  Courts generally have plenty of cases to hear on any given day so when a person interferes with court proceedings or impedes the administration of justice, judges will be quick to charge a person in contempt.   These rules apply in all courtrooms including family law and municipal court cases.

What Are The Different Types Of Contempt?

There are several ways to be found in contempt of court.  The first is called criminal contempt which can be both direct and indirect.  Direct contempt as explained earlier happens in front of the judge and the issue is dealt with on the spot.

Indirect contempt happens outside the presence of a judge and involves matters like when a juror is ordered not to discuss a case with anyone and willfully violates that order by talking to someone about the case outside of court.

Another type of contempt is civil contempt, in which a plaintiff can bring a suit against a defendant, where the plaintiff is seeking money damages or some sort of injunctive relief from the court.  Common examples of civil contempt include, failure to pay child support, failure to obey a restraining order or interfering with a parents right to visit a child.

Should I Hire An Attorney?

In criminal contempt cases you are being charged with a crime and have a right to trial.  You are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, so the prosecutor must prove all the elements of the crime to support a conviction.  First there must be a clear and specific order that was in place and secondly that you in fact violated that order.  Finally the violation must be found to be willful or done on purpose.

Whether you forgot to appear in court or you let your emotions get the best of you in the courtroom, you will need a skilled defense attorney to fight your charges.  The Rosenblum Law Firm can assist you and provide you with the best legal service for your case.  Call us today for a free consultation, we can help.  Call 888-815-3649.