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Criminal Contempt In The Second Degree

Under New York law, a person is guilty of criminal contempt in the second degree when they violate an order of protection or behave inappropriately in court. Second-degree offenses include acting in a disruptive, disorderly, disrespectful, or insolent manner while a court is in session and with the direct intent to obstruct the court’s business or undermine the respect owed to its authority. Refusal to take the witness oath or refusing to respond to questions after being sworn in as a witness is also grounds for criminal contempt in the second degree.ij8

Violating an order of protection or restraining order is another common reason for criminal contempt in the second degree charges.

New York Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree Attorney

If you or someone you know has been arrested for criminal contempt in the second degree, do not take these charges lightly. If you do not protect yourself and retain experienced legal counsel, you will most likely bear the dire consequences to your career, future and freedom. When you are ready to take the first and strongest step, contact Law Office of Stephanie Selloni. Criminal defense attorney Stephanie Selloni at Law Office of Stephanie Selloni has years of experience in criminal law and can assist you in your case.

Our office is in Garden City, but we serve clients throughout Nassau County, including Uniondale, Levittown, Mineola, and Hempstead. Law Office of Stephanie Selloni also accepts cases in Suffolk County and the five boroughs of New York City. Call (516) 972-1212 to schedule your first consultation.

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Information Center

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Violating An Order Of Protection

A protection order must be taken seriously in New York. If someone has contact with the protected party despite a protection order in New York requiring “no contact whatsoever,” that person may face criminal contempt charges. Reaching out via call, text, email, or even attempting to contact the protected party through a friend or third party may lead to contempt charges. If threats are made, the action may result in a felony charge.

What violates a restraining order and what actions warrant a charge of second-degree criminal contempt have no universal definition. What someone can and cannot do in relation to the protected party will be governed by the language in the order of protection. Depending on the nature of the order, it may prohibit parents from even discussing childcare concerns. If there are any questions about what is allowed, the defendant should refer to the details of the court order or contact an attorney for clarification. People should avoid reaching out to third parties to communicate, as this could be a clear violation.

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Understanding The Order

Both parties need to understand who is limited or protected by an order of protection. The “victim” who is named on a restraining order actually has the right to contact the defendant (assuming the defendant doesn’t have an order against them). The complainant can call, text, email, etc., as long as they aren’t committing a crime in the process, such as harassing or menacing the defendant. Their contacting the defendant is not a violation of the order. However, if the defendant engages in contact, they can be charged with contempt. New York state law places strict liability on the defendant.

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Relationship To The Victim

If a person is charged with criminal contempt in the second degree and the person who is protected is a relative, partner, or someone else who is considered “family,” prosecutors will likely scrutinize the case more closely. The court system will direct the case to the proper courts.

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Federal Court

To convict someone of criminal contempt, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant broke the law.

A federal criminal contempt statute additionally enables federal courts to punish conduct that impedes their administration of justice, in addition to New York’s legal framework. According to the law, defiance of a federal court order or willful disobedience to one is grounds for criminal contempt on the federal level.

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Sentencing For Contempt In The Second-Degree

Despite being a misdemeanor, criminal contempt in the second degree carries serious penalties if someone is found guilty of it. A guilty conviction of criminal contempt in the second degree can result in a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Even if someone is not given a jail term, they could still be subject to probation or community service.

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Possible Defenses In A Contempt Case

If the charge is the result of disruptive court conduct or refusal to cooperate, finding a defense may be a challenge.

When it comes to proving a defendant intentionally violated an order of protection, defendants may argue the act was not intentional. To be found guilty, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally called or showed up at the same location as the victim. If the encounter was an accident, the defendant may have a defense.

An order of protection must be served or ordered in court. A defendant who wasn’t properly served or didn’t receive notice of the order at a court hearing may be able to argue this defense.

Prosecutors will look at the evidence and the proof that exists. Is there concrete evidence to prove a defendant violated the order or is it a matter of one party’s word against the other?

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Additional Resources

New York State Unified Court System – Click the link provided to view a one-page PDF that explains disorderly court conduct that is classified as criminal contempt in the second degree. It also lists the requirements to be found guilty of the charge.

The Legislation Section of the New York State Senate website – Click the link provided to view all state laws and penal codes. Section 215.50 is Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree. This site includes a detailed description of all qualifying acts.

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Garden City Criminal Contempt In The Second Degree Attorney | Nassau County, NY

If you have been arrested for criminal contempt in the second degree, don’t let the sting of this claim follow you forever. Discuss your situation with the expert legal team at Law Office of Stephanie Selloni. New York criminal defense lawyer Stephanie Selloni at Law Office of Stephanie Selloni has decades of experience defending clients charged with criminal contempt. She’ll work to restore your reputation and defend against allegations of domestic violence.

Law Office of Stephanie Selloni focuses on criminal cases in Garden City, Hempstead, Mineola, Westbury, Floral Park and the surrounding areas in Nassau County and Long Island. Call (516) 972-1212 to schedule a free consultation today.

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