Tulsa Attorney BlogWhat is Direct Contempt of Court in Oklahoma?

Punishment Could Be Up to Six Months Imprisonment


criminal defense lawyer in TulsaVideo Transcribed: What is direct contempt of court in the State of Oklahoma? My name is James Wirth and I am a lawyer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That’s the topic that we have today.

We’re dealing with contempt of court. Now, what is contempt of court generally? That is where you’re in violation of something that the court requires, which means that you can be held accountable in a quasi-criminal matter where you can be put in jail for up to six months upon a conviction and/or up to a $500 fine, or you can be held until you purge it by getting into compliance with the court’s order. But there are two types of contempt. There’s direct contempt and there’s indirect contempt. And I’ve done a separate video related to indirect contempt. So this one is talking about direct contempt of court.

There’s actually a statutory definition for that. It’s in Title 21, Section 565, and it reads as follows, “Direct contempts shall consist of disorderly or insolent behavior committed during the session of the court and in its immediate view, and presence, and of the unlawful and willful refusal of any person to be sworn as a witness, and the refusal to answer any legal or proper question.” So also goes on to say, “And any breach of the peace, noise or disturbance near to it as to interrupt its proceeding shall be deemed direct contempt of court, and may be summarily punished as hereinafter noted.” As I noted, the punishment for direct contempt of court or indirect contempt of court is up to six months imprisonment and/or up to a $500 fine.

Okay. But direct contempt of court, as it notes, is things that occur during court orders, around the court that disrupt the court. So the judge generally witnesses it, and then can immediately find there is a basis for contempt. As opposed to indirect contempt, a court which occurs outside of the view of the court, where it is a violation of the court’s order. That has to be proven before the judge because the judge didn’t witness it. So you’d have to have a trial on that, whereas direct contempt is a quicker process.

If you’ve got any questions related to contempt, enforcing court orders, or something else related to Oklahoma law, you’re going to want to talk to a Tulsa legal attorney about that privately and confidentially. To get that scheduled with somebody at my office, you’d go online to makelaweasy.com.

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