Criminal Contempt in Charlotte NC
Failure to comply with a valid court order in North Carolina may result in proceedings for Contempt of Court in Charlotte NC. There are actually two types of contempt that apply to North Carolina family laws: Civil Contempt for willful violation (noncompliance) of a valid Order and Criminal Contempt. While contempt of court actions may be brought for matters other than divorce, child support and family law disputes, some of the most litigated legal issues in Charlotte Family Court involve a Motion to Show Cause and Show Cause Order alleging a violation of visitation and child custody order.
Generally speaking, criminal contempt is appropriate to punish one of the parties. It often involves disobedience of court orders or disruption of court proceedings. Courts may also enter a judgment for criminal contempt for acting in a disrespectful manner towards the Judge or for interfering with the Court’s lawful authority to administer justice in Charlotte family court. As to criminal contempt, the Court may impose up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine in North Carolina. That’s true in criminal court, family court, and any other judicial proceeding in North Carolina.
Can I be Held in Contempt of Court in Charlotte for Both Civil Contempt and Criminal Contempt?
“If you heard the Judge say ‘Criminal Contempt,’ chances are something went really bad in court. Put simply, you need to lawyer up. Criminal contempt in North Carolina is meant as a punishment, not necessarily as a way to ensure future compliance with a court order in Charlotte divorce court.”
– Bill Powers, Divorce Lawyer Charlotte NC
The short answer is “No.” While there may be allegations for both from the outset, a person cannot be held in contempt for civil contempt in North Carolina and criminal contempt for the same conduct. The North Carolina laws make that clear in N.C.G.S. 5A-21(c) and N.C.G.S. 5A-12(d). Chapter 5A of the North Carolina General Statutes (N.C.G.S.) sets for the law for contempt in North Carolina. See: Contempt of Court in Charlotte NC
It is possible that the actions of the defendant (the person accused of contempt) may allow the Court to proceed with evidence and later determine whether criminal contempt or civil contempt for violation of a Court order is more appropriate. So while you cannot be actually “held in contempt” for both Civil Contempt and Criminal Contempt for the same actions or conduct, you may be accused of both and necessarily need to defend both causes of action in court.
In the end, the Judge in Charlotte Family Court is required to choose one over the other. The defendant in criminal contempt proceedings has legal rights, consistent with criminal charges and a criminal court hearing. Article 2 of Chapter 5A in the NC General Statutes addresses civil contempt.Is a Family Court Order required for Contempt of Court in North Carolina?
Yes. Not only is a Court Order required for civil contempt, but that order must also be valid. If the Judge who entered the judgment or original order did not have legal authority, that order is considered “null and void.” You cannot be held in contempt of court for violating an invalid order in North Carolina.
Divorce lawyers in Charlotte NC who defend a Show Cause Order (or a Motion to Show Cause) for contempt in Family Court may focus on a series on considerations, including:
- Proper Jurisdiction – Did the Judge have jurisdiction to enter the Court Order?
- Order Correct as a Matter of Law – Is the Court Order “Voidable?” Can the Order be challenged?
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Criminal Contempt in Charlotte NC?
“An order is void from the beginning (ab initio in Latin) if the order was issued by a Judge who did not have jurisdiction.”
– Bill Powers, Divorce Attorney in Charlotte NC
Based on our training and experience in court, litigating cases on behalf of clients, we take contempt proceedings in North Carolina very seriously. You should too.
They often involve legal issues that are fraught with emotion between the parties. And if a Judge has leveled allegations of criminal contempt of court in Charlotte NC, given the possibility of active jail time and a hefty fine, we believe it imperative to have a lawyer standing by your side in court.
Call Charlotte divorce lawyer Bill Powers NOW: 704-342-4357