There Are Two Different Types of Contempt of Court
Video Transcribed: What is the punishment for contempt of court in Oklahoma? I’m James Wirth, an attorney in Tulsa, and that’s the question that we have before us. Contempt of court and how can it be punished?
All right, so contempt of court, two different types, direct and indirect. I did separate videos dealing with each of those. Indirect, generally speaking, is a violation of a court order. Direct contempt is a violation that occurs in the presence of the judge, a disruption in court, or a refusal to testify, something along those lines.
In any regard, both of them are punished the same way. It is statutory. It’s Title 21, Section 566, and it notes the punishment as follows: Unless otherwise provided by law, punishment for direct or indirect contempt shall be the imposition of a fine in a sum not exceeding $500, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both at the discretion of the court. So, what’s the punishment? Imprisonment up to six months and/or a fine of up to $500.
But also, a lot of times for contempt of court, it’s not just about sentencing that time, go serve your time, it’s also to compel proper behavior. Sometimes there’ll be a purge amount set. For instance, if there’s contempt based on child support, if you’re behind a thousand dollars on child support, rather than the sentence you perhaps to six months in jail, the six months may be the sentence, but it could be purged by paying the thousand dollars and getting in compliance.
A lot of times, you’re just held until you get into compliance. As they say, regarding contempt cases sometimes, you are the key to your own freedom. You just have to get into compliance and you can get out. But if the court does find contempt and beyond a reasonable doubt, the criminal standard then it can also be punitive in the sense that you could be required to serve up to that six months imprisonment.
If you’ve got any questions about contempt in the state of Oklahoma or another legal issue, you’re going to want to talk to an Oklahoma defense attorney about that privately and confidentially. To get that scheduled with somebody at my office, you can go online to MakeLawEasy.com.