Illinois Contempt Charges and Contempt Defense
What happens to you because of a Contempt of Court charge in Chicago largely depends on what type of Illinois Contempt Charges your face (criminal or civil) and whether an act of Criminal Contempt took place inside a courtroom or outside of it. If you commit an act of Criminal Contempt of Court inside the courtroom and the judge witnesses your act, that’s called Direct Contempt and the judge does not need to hold a trial to convict you of the charge. And a Chicago Contempt of Court Defense Attorney can’t help you. The judge can punish you right then for your act. You need a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney fighting for you.
But if you commit an act of Criminal Contempt outside of the courtroom, that’s called Indirect Contempt and then you have a right to a trial to determine your guilt or innocence on the Illinois Contempt Charges. But you do not have a right to a jury or to substitution of the judge. Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Michael P. Schmiege handles Contempt of Court Charges in Illinois.
What is Contempt of Court in Illinois?
Basically, Contempt of Court is a failure to show proper respect to the court and the judge. Whether you shout obscenities at your hearing in Chicago, come to your court appearance in inappropriate clothing, interrupt the judge, repeatedly shout out or interrupt court proceedings, or otherwise impede the progress of the court, you could be charged with Contempt of Court.
Contempt of Court occurs where you intend to:
- Impede, embarrass, or obstruct the court;
- Derogate from the authority of the court; or
- Bring the court into disrepute.
What are the Different Types of Contempt of Court Charges and What do They Mean?
In Illinois, you could face charges of Criminal Contempt of Court or Civil Contempt of Court. Depending on the circumstances of your Illinois Contempt Charges, a strong Contempt Defense by a knowledgeable Chicago Contempt of Court Defense Attorney like Michael P. Schmiege could be your key to beating your charges.
Some examples of Criminal Contempt include:
- Turning your back on the judge when you’re being addressed;
- Showing hostility towards the judge or other court officers;
- Attempting to leave the courtroom without permission; and
- Wearing inappropriate clothing to court.
In Illinois, Criminal Contempt is generally considered a “petty offense” rather than a formal misdemeanor or felony. But don’t let the label of “petty offense” fool you. If you act in Contempt of Court while you have other charges pending against you, this could have a negative influence on the outcome of your other charges. You need a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer to fight for you in your Contempt of Court case in Chicago.
An offense of Criminal Contempt is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Civil Contempt is a very different offense and consists of noncompliance with a court order. For instance if your fail to pay your court-ordered child support or another court-ordered fine, or if you fail to produce documents for a legal dispute as ordered by a court, then you could be held in Civil Contempt of Court. The judge could then sentence you to jail and order you to pay a fine because of your Illinois Contempt Charges.
But in Illinois, you hold the keys to your own jail cell in a matter of Civil Contempt. That is, as soon as you comply with the court’s order, the charge of Civil Contempt is dropped.
Contact Chicago Contempt of Court Defense Attorney
If you’re facing Illinois Contempt Charges and you need a sound Contempt Defense, call on Michael P. Schmiege to handle your case. His practical experience and in-depth knowledge of the common law governing Contempt of Court matters enables him to ably fight your charges and preserve your rights.
Chicago Contempt of Court Defense Attorney Michael Schmiege will aggressively defend you from Illinois Contempt Charges. He will conduct a thorough review of your case to find legal bases for a strong Contempt Defense.
Contempt of Court is a crime of intent. To be convicted and punished, the court must prove that your contempt was not an accident or mistake, but a deliberate act. As a practical matter though, the appearance of contempt tends to weigh against you, so you need an able Contempt Defense attorney to successfully fight your charge.
Contact Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Michael P. Schmiege today for a free and confidential legal consultation to discuss your charges and evaluate your case for potential success.