Contempt results from a willful disobedience of a court order. Willful disobedience requires an act to be done voluntarily and intentionally with the specific intent to do something the law forbids, or with the specific intent to fail to do something the law requires to be done; that is to say, with bad purpose either to disobey or disregard the law. A party seeking a contempt finding for violation of a court order must show the order’s existence and facts establishing the other party did not comply with the order. Before a court may find a person in contempt, the record must clearly and specifically reflect the contemptuous conduct.
There are different kinds of contempt including criminal, civil, direct and constructive. The distinctions are significant. The type of contempt will affect applicable Constitutional rights, the burden of proof and the punishment. A finding of contempt can carry up to 1 year incarceration, and/or up to a $1500.00 fine, and/or up to 300 hours of community service.