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What is Indirect Criminal Contempt?

Posted in Blog on October 10th, 2014

The Florida Supreme Court has defined Contempt as “Any act which is calculated to embarrass, hinder, or obstruct the court in the administration of justice, or which is calculated to lessen its authority or its dignity.” The test is not the physical propinquity of the act to the court, but its tendency to directly affect the administration of justice.”

Indirect contempt, is conduct that does not occur “ in the presence of a court or of a judge acting judicially, but at a distance under circumstances that reasonably tend to degrade the court or the judge as a judicial officer, or to obstruct, interrupt, prevent, or embarrass the administration of justice by the court or judge.” Forbes v. State, 933 So. 2d 706 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006).

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.840 controls all actions for indirect criminal contempt. See Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.840 (1999). “A criminal contempt . . .shall be prosecuted” on a judge’s own motion, or upon the motion or affidavit of a person having knowledge of the facts. Id. An indirect criminal contempt will commence with the issuance of an order to show cause why the party should not be held in contempt. Levey v. D’Angelo,819 So. 2d 864(Fla. 4th DCA 2002)

For more information on Indirect Criminal Contempt or for a free case evaluation, contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney David J. Sobel directly at 954-383-3000.00