According to the California Code of Civil Procedure 1219 CCP, a judge has the right to hold you in civil or criminal contempt of court if you disobey a court order. If the court holds you in criminal contempt, you can face criminal penalties, including jail. The criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of David Lehr in Ventura, California can help you if the court holds you in criminal contempt.
Contempt of court frequently occurs in family law cases, such as when one spouse fails to pay child support or temporary alimony or to transfer certain items of property to their ex-spouse. Likewise, if the court sets conditions on your parenting time (such as not drinking alcohol or always having one of your parents present during your parenting time), the court can hold you in contempt if you do not follow them.
If the court orders you to do something, you must do it if you are able to, or else be held in contempt of court. (If you are unable, try to modify the court order.) California Code of Civil Procedure 1219 CCP sets out some exceptions to this:
- If the court orders a domestic violence victim to testify against their abuser, the victim may refuse to testify.
- If a person under the age of 18 disobeys a court order, the court may not send them to juvenile detention as punishment.
- Victims of sexual assault have the right not to testify against their attackers, even if they had no prior relationship.
- Victims of all domestic violence crimes may refuse to testify, whether or not they suffered physical injury because of the crime.
- A victim of domestic violence may feel such great fear of the abuser as to be unable to testify against them in court.
How does this affect your case? If you are a domestic violence survivor, you might need a lawyer to stand up for your right not to testify against your abuser. If you are accused of domestic violence, you will need a better defense than “the victim is lying” if the victim does not testify. In other words, the outcome of your case will depend on the other evidence and whether the police and prosecution had the right to gather and present this evidence in court.
If you have accused your former partner of domestic violence, you should probably hire a lawyer even before the court asks you to testify in the criminal case against your ex. These are some ways that it is in your interest to hire a lawyer in domestic violence cases, even if you have not been charged with a crime:
- If you have a restraining order against your ex, it means he cannot contact you without facing criminal penalties, but he might try to retaliate against you in other ways.
- If the charges against your ex may or may not be domestic violence (such as destroying a cell phone), then you may or may not be protected from criminal contempt of court.
- In the course of criminal and civil cases, your ex may say lots of things to discredit you, and these may make the police suspect you of having committed a crime.
Meanwhile, if you are the one charged with domestic violence, the alleged partner’s refusal to testify is not essentially good or bad. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you make the best choices, given the circumstances.
If you have been charged with
criminal contempt of court, call 805-477-0070.
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Domestic violence cases are complex, and each case is unique. If you have any relationship to criminal charges related to domestic violence, even if you are the alleged victim, you should hire a Ventura, California criminal defense lawyer. The Law Offices of David Lehr provides skillful and dedicated representation to defendants in criminal cases in the Ventura area. This website is for informational purposes only and does not count as professional legal advice. To exercise your right to representation by an attorney, contact the Law Offices of David Lehr.
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