Violating a Court Order | California Penal Code 166 PC

Violating a Court Order | California Penal Code 166 PC

Definition and Elements of the Crime

Under California Penal Code Section 166 PC, various behaviors are classified as contempt of court. This includes disruptive conduct during court proceedings, refusal to comply as a witness, and notably, the intentional violation of a Court Order. This statute is particularly relevant in cases involving Protective Orders, Restraining Orders, and Stay-Away Orders, often seen in domestic violence situations.

To establish a violation of a Court Order under Penal Code 166 PC, the prosecution must prove:

  • A lawful written court order was issued.
  • The defendant was aware of the court order.
  • The defendant had the capability to comply with the court order.
  • The defendant willfully violated the court order.

It’s important to note that this statute is applicable to any protective or stay-away order issued by a court. However, it does not extend to violations of probation conditions, which are legally considered court orders but are addressed separately in Probation Violation Hearings and are explicitly excluded from prosecution under Penal Code 166 PC.

Types of Contempt of Court Under Penal Code 166 PC

Penal Code 166 PC outlines several specific types of contempt:

  • Disruptive Behavior: Disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent behavior during court proceedings that interrupts or disrespects the court.
  • Breach of Peace: Any noise or disturbance that interrupts court proceedings.
  • Willful Disobedience of Court Orders: Intentionally disobeying the terms of a court order.
  • Resistance to Court Orders: Actively resisting or obstructing a court’s lawful order or process.
  • Refusal to Comply as a Witness: Refusing to be sworn in as a witness or to answer essential questions.
  • Misrepresentation in Court: Publishing false reports of court proceedings or presenting unauthorized information during sentencing.
  • Gang-Related Injunctions: Disobeying injunctions related to criminal street gangs.

Penalties for Violating Penal Code 166 PC

Violations of California Penal Code 166 PC generally fall under misdemeanor offenses. The penalties for these misdemeanors can be substantial, including:

  • Up to six months in jail.
  • Significant court fines.

However, the law includes provisions for enhanced penalties and specific circumstances:

  • Contacting a Victim: Enhanced penalties apply if the contempt involves contacting a victim, especially after a prior conviction.
  • Protective Order Violations: Violating protective orders, particularly in domestic violence or elder abuse cases, can lead to imprisonment and fines.
  • Firearm Possession: Owning or possessing a firearm when prohibited by a protective order results in additional penalties.

Legal Defenses

Defending against charges of violating a court order can involve several strategies:

  • Arguing it was not a willful violation, such as in accidental encounters.
  • Demonstrating a lack of awareness of the court order.
  • Proving inability to comply due to circumstances beyond control.
  • Challenging the legality of the court order itself.

Criminal Defense for Violating a Court Order Cases in Los Angeles

The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi are at your service to defend your rights if you find yourself facing the serious charge of violating a court order in Los Angeles.With over two decades of experience in handling both misdemeanor and felony cases, Attorney Arash Hashemi is well-versed in the intricacies of contempt of court charges, including violations of court orders, protective orders, and stay-away orders.

At our office, we understand the serious implications of being charged under Penal Code 166 PC. Whether you’re accused of disruptive behavior in court, willful disobedience of court orders, or any other form of contempt, we are here to provide the robust defense you need. Contact us at (310) 448-1529 or visit us at Westside Towers, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, to schedule a consultation.

Attorney Arash Hashemi will review your case, exploring every legal avenue to challenge the accusations against you. Whether it’s arguing against the willfulness of the violation, questioning the awareness of the court order, or challenging the legality of the order itself, we are committed to pursuing the best possible outcome for your case. Trust us to build a strong, effective defense strategy tailored to the specifics of your situation.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

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