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Contempt of Court in Louisiana

Failure to Appear When No Bond Posted is Contempt

In misdemeanor cases, the officer can issue a summons to the defendant to appear. Therefore, the defendant is not formally arrested and booked, requiring a bond to get out of jail. If the defendant doesn’t appear to court on a misdemeanor in Louisiana, he could be charged with Contempt by the judge. The judge could order a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment for up to six months. If you need a lawyer for contempt in Baton Rouge City Court or elsewhere, contact us.

Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 21.  Direct contempt

A direct contempt of court is one committed in the immediate view and presence of the court and of which it has personal knowledge; or, a contumacious failure to comply with a subpoena, summons or order to appear in court, proof of service of which appears of record; or, a contumacious failure to comply with an order sequestering a witness.

A direct contempt includes, but is not limited to, any of the following acts:

(1)  Contumacious failure, after notice, to appear for arraignment or trial on the day fixed therefor;

(2)  Contumacious failure to comply with a subpoena or summons to appear in court, proof of service of which appears of record;

(3)  Contumacious violation of an order excluding, separating, or sequestering a witness;

(4)  Refusal to take the oath or affirmation as a witness, or refusal of a witness to answer a nonincriminating question when ordered to do so by the court;

(5)  Contumacious, insolent, or disorderly behavior toward the judge or an attorney or other officer of the court, tending to interrupt or interfere with the business of the court or to impair its dignity or respect for its authority;

(6)  Breach of the peace, boisterous conduct, or violent disturbance tending to interrupt or interfere with the business of the court or to impair its dignity or respect for its authority;

(7)  Use of insulting, abusive, or discourteous language by an attorney or other person in open court, or in a motion, plea, brief, or other document, filed with the court, in irrelevant criticism of another attorney or of a judge or officer of the court;

(8)  Violation of a rule of the court adopted to maintain order and decorum in the court room; or

(9)  Contumacious failure to attend court as a member of a jury venire or to serve as a juror after being accepted as such when proof of service of the subpoena appears of record.

Art. 22.  Procedure for punishing direct contempt

A person who has committed a direct contempt of court may be found guilty and punished therefor by the court without any trial, after affording him an opportunity to be heard orally by way of defense or mitigation.  The court shall render an order reciting the facts constituting the contempt, adjudging the person guilty thereof, and specifying the punishment imposed.

Art. 25.  Penalties for contempt

A.  A person may not be adjudged guilty of a contempt of court except for misconduct defined as such, or made punishable as such, expressly by law.

B.  Except as otherwise provided in this Article, a court may punish a person adjudged guilty of contempt of court in connection with a criminal proceeding by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

C.  When an attorney is adjudged guilty of a direct contempt of court, the punishment shall be limited to a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or imprisonment for not more than twenty-four hours, or both; and, for any subsequent direct contempt of the same court by the same offender, a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or imprisonment for not more than ten days, or both.

D.  A justice of the peace may punish a person adjudged guilty of a direct contempt of court by a fine of not more than fifty dollars, or imprisonment in the parish jail for not more than twenty-four hours, or both.

E.  When a contempt of court consists of the omission to perform an act which is yet in the power of the person charged with contempt to perform, he may be imprisoned until he performs it, and in such a case this shall be specified in the court’s order.

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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