Criminal Contempt Defense Lawyers & Attorneys
The crime of Criminal Contempt is charged if a person fails to comply with a court order, direction or proceeding. The most common example of this occurs if a person is issued an order of protection, and disobeys it by having contact with the protected person. A charge of Criminal Contempt can only occur when a person is alleged to have violated a direct order or instruction from a Judge. There are various types of Criminal Contempt charges which include:
- Criminal Contempt in the 2nd degree, a class A misdemeanor in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50;
- Criminal Contempt in the 1st degree, a class E felony in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51;
- Aggravated Criminal Contempt, a class D Felony in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.52.
A conviction for any charge of Criminal Contempt will result in a criminal history and criminal record.
Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Contempt
Our criminal defense lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.
Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree is a misdemeanor. You can be charged with Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50 when it is alleged that you have done or committed any of the following conduct:
- Disorderly or disrespectful behavior committed while in Court and interrupting or impairing the authority of the court, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50(1).
- Disturbing court proceedings, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50(2).
- Intentional Disobedience to Law Process or Mandate of a court, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50(3).
- Refusing to be sworn as a witness or participate in a court proceeding, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50(4).
- Knowingly Providing False or Inaccurate Reports of a court proceeding, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50(5).
- Avoiding Jury Service, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50(6).
- Conduct close to the courthouse trying to interfere with the Court, a jury, or a trial, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50(7).
Yes. If you intentionally disobey an order of the court, you may be charged with Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50(3). For this charge, it will be alleged that a person was ordered to have no contact or limited contact with a protected party and that someone intentionally had contact or communication in direct violation of the previously issued Order of Protection.
What are the penalties for Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.50?
Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree, is a class A misdemeanor. A conviction for this crime can result in the following penalties:
- Up to 1 year in the local or County Jail.
- Up to 3 years of Probation.
- Up to $1000 in fines.
- Restitution, if applicable.
Criminal Contempt in the First Degree is a felony. You can be charged with Criminal Contempt in the First degree, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51 when it is alleged that you have committed any of the following acts:
- Refusing to be sworn as a witness before a grand jury, or having been sworn as grand jury witness, refusing to answer questions, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51(a);
- Violating an Order of Protection by:
- Menacing or Threat, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51(b)(i).
- Stalking, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51(b)(ii).
- Instilling Fear by Electronic Means, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51(b)(iii).
- Repeated Telephone Calls, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51(b)(iv).
- Striking, Kicking, or Other Physical Contact, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51(b)(v).
- Physical menace by placing the protected party in fear of death, or imminent serious physical injury or injury, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51(b)(vi).
- Intentionally violating the Order of Protection when you have a previous conviction of Criminal Contempt within the last 5 years, N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.5(c); and
- Intentionally or Recklessly causes $250 or more damages to the property of the protected party N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51(d).
Yes. If you violate a lawfully issued Order of Protection you may be charged with a felony if you have contact with the protected person and also cause fear or threaten the use of death, or injury and/or commit any of the following acts:
- Display a deadly weapon; Dangerous Instrument; Pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun; machine gun.
- Repeatedly follow the protected party.
- Repeatedly commit prohibited acts over a period of time.
- Send threatening messages by phone, email or other communications.
- Make telephone calls for no legitimate purpose.
- Strike; shove, kick or threatens to do the same.
George: If a person violates an order of protection, can they be charged with a crime?
Andy: Yes. In New York, if you violate an order of protection, you’ll be charged with what’s called criminal contempt. Depending on your actions, that could be either charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Thank you for watching this video. If you have any questions or require additional information, please call us at 844-accused or visit our website at lawyers4theaccused.com.
What are the penalties for Criminal Contempt in the First Degree, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51?
Criminal Contempt in the First Degree, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.51, is a class E Felony and is subject to the following penalties:
- Up to 4 years in State Prison/Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
- Up to 5 years of Probation.
- Up to $5000 in fines or double the gain from the crime; and
- Restitution, if applicable.
Aggravated Criminal Contempt is a Felony. You can be charged with Aggravated Criminal Contempt when you:
- Intentionally or recklessly cause serious physical injury or injury to the protected party.
- Commit the crime of Criminal Contempt in the First degree in violations of N.Y. Penal Law Sections 215.51(b) or 215.51 (d) and have been convicted of Aggravated Criminal Contempt in the past; and
- Have previously been convicted of Criminal Contempt in the First Degree in the past 5 years.
If I disobey an Order of Protection, can I be charged with Aggravated Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree?
Yes. If you violate an existing Order of Protection and either recklessly or intentionally cause injury to the protected party, you may be charged with Aggravated Criminal Contempt.
What are the penalties for Aggravated Criminal Contempt, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.52?
Criminal Contempt in the First Degree, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law Section 215.52, is a class D Felony and is subject to the following penalties:
- Up to 7 years in State Prison/Department of Corrections and Community Supervision;
- Up to 5 years of Probation.
- Up to $5000 in fines or double the gain from the crime; and
- Restitution, if applicable.
Timeline of a Criminal Defense Case
- Whether you just made a big mistake, or are being falsely accused, this can be a very emotional and important time in a case
- It is very important that you remain silent and not answer any questions about the case without a lawyer present
- Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible
- Confirm the lawyer is an experienced criminal defense lawyer
- Meet with the lawyer who will help you understand the process of a criminal case
- If you have been arrested, critical proceedings and time frames begin immediately
- You will appear before a judge who will determine if you will be incarcerated, released on bail or supervision, or released without conditions
- If you are charged with a felony in a town, village or city court, the prosecuting agency will have six months from the date of your arrest to determine whether to present your case to a grand jury to seek an indictment or return your case to a lower court to be handled as a misdemeanor
- Discovery is the exchange of information between the governmental agency prosecuting you, you, and your attorney
- In New York State this process begins shortly after your appearance in court
- You can expect exchange of the following if it exists in your case:
- Police Reports
- Investigative Notes
- Videos / Body Camera Footage / Dash Camera Footage
- Forensic Reports
- Exculpatory Material (Brady)
- Impeachment Material
- You and your attorney may also be engaged in information gathering that includes:
- Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Requests/Responses
- Additional Witness Interviews
- Expert Evaluations / Disclosures
- Motions are written applications to the court to request any of the following:
- Preclude Evidence
- Suppress Evidence
- Seek a Ruling on a Constitutional Rights Violation
- Seek Outright Dismissal of One or More Charges Based on Legal/Factual Matters
- Request Hearings
- A plea bargain is an offer from the prosecuting attorney to resolve your case
- Whether to plead guilty or not is always a choice you get to make, not your attorney
- Your attorney will meet with you, discuss the facts and the law of your case, and offer advice. A plea offer takes into consideration your charges as well as:
- Prior criminal history if any
- Life experiences
- Evidentiary Problems
- Post-Incident Actions
- Mental Health Counseling
- Substance Abuse Treatment
- Anger Management Treatment
- If you choose not to accept a plea bargain and are heading to trial, there are likely to be hearings to consider the following:
- Preclusion/Suppression of Evidence
- Admissibility of Evidence
- What Prior Criminal History/Bad Acts May Be Introduced by the Prosecutor if You Testify on Your Own Behalf
- During a hearing, there is no jury, and the judge will make factual and legal determinations regarding what evidence will be allowed at trial.
- You have the right to a trial by a fair and impartial jury or by the judge who will act as both judge and jury
- At a trial, the prosecution has the burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
- The judge or jury will listen to the evidence presented and the arguments by the lawyers, apply the facts to the law, and render a verdict of not guilty or guilty
- A Verdict must be unanimous
- If you are convicted at trial, or if you entered a plea bargain, there will be a sentencing date where your punishment will be imposed by the judge
- If you previously entered a plea bargain, the judge will likely impose the agreed upon sentence at that time
- In the event you are convicted, you have the right to appeal
- This is true whether you plead guilty or are convicted after trial
- However, by accepting a plea bargain, you may have waived some of your appellate rights
- It is important that your attorney file a notice of appeal on your behalf and that you discuss the appeal process with your lawyer
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