It is the responsibility of the court to control courtroom behavior Contempt of court occurs when an individual shows disrespect for a judge in the courtroom, disobeys a court order, or disrupts judicial proceedings. This results in two types of contempt – criminal contempt and civil contempt. Contempt can occur in the presence of a judge, such as when court proceedings are disrupted, or outside of the presence of a judge, such as when a court order is disobeyed.

Civil Contempt

When a person refuses to obey a court order, this is considered civil contempt. Civil contempt can result in a fine, jail time, or both. These are sanctions that are designed to force a person to be compliant with a court order and not so much to punish them. If jail time results, the individual will be released from jail upon compliance with the court order.

The failure to comply with an injunction is also considered civil contempt.

Criminal Contempt

Criminal contempt in Minnesota involves behavior that obstructs or hinders justice. An example of criminal contempt is insulting or threatening a judge or witness. Another example is disobeying a subpoena that is meant to produce evidence. There have been instances in which trial attorneys have been held in criminal contempt because they made disrespectful remarks to the judge. The punishment is given in order to vindicate the authority of the court. Criminal contempt in Minnesota is punishable by jail time, a fine, or both.

The failure to comply with an injunction can also be considered criminal contempt.

The process is rather simple. If a judge finds that an individual is in contempt of court, they will charge that person and then immediately establish their punishment. For instance, in the case of civil contempt, the judge will issue a warrant for that individual and they will be arrested for contempt. They may also receive certified notice from the court that a fine is due and that that fine is due within a certain amount of time. One or the other will occur, depending on the severity of the situation and what the judge deems necessary.

In the case of Minnesota criminal contempt, a judge will charge contempt in the courtroom if court proceedings are interrupted. The judge will first impose a fine. If contempt continues, the fine may be increased and/or jail time will be ordered. If jail time is ordered, the judge will instruct the bailiff to take the offender into custody.

Minnesota Attorneys

If you find that you are in contempt of court in Minnesota and you feel that you shouldn’t be or that you need legal help in your situation despite your position on the charge, let us help.