California Penal Code Section 166 covers a wide range of acts that can put individuals in contempt of court. Perhaps the most serious element of California Penal Code Section 166 involves violating a court order.
You can find out more about the repercussions for violating a court order in California right here. The Simmrin Law Group can also help you go over other aspects of PC 166 and how the court can utilize this legal code.
PC 166: Violating a Court Order
Individuals in California may be charged with violating a court order if they willfully disregarded a lawfully written order that:
- They Knew About AND
- They Were Able to Follow
Both stay-away orders and protective orders are considered lawfully written orders that must be obeyed to avoid PC 166 charges. However, individuals will not face PC 166 charges for probation violations. The court system will handle probation violations using different legal codes.
You should also be aware that the court may use more specific charges for some court order violations. For example, an individual who violates a protective order could be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 273.6: Violating A Restraining, Protective Or Stay Away Order.
PC 166: Other Contempt of Court Charges
As we previously mentioned, PC 166 covers a wide range of other acts that fall under the umbrella definition of contempt of court. Individuals may be charged with contempt of court under PC 166 for behavior that is:
The court can also use contempt of court charges if someone:
- Interferes with Court Proceedings with Noise or a Breach or the Peace
- Offers Willful Resistance to the Court Process
- Unlawfully Refuses to be Sworn in as a Witness
- Makes a Grossly Inaccurate or False Report Regarding a Court Proceeding
The wide range of actions covered by PC 166 can be complicated to understand without the help of a legal professional. You can reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles to get answers to your specific questions.
PC 166: Penalties for Violations
The court system in California most frequently prosecutes PC 166 violations as misdemeanors. Most misdemeanor convictions for contempt of court can lead to:
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Jail Time: Up to 6 Months
However, a PC 166 violation can be “aggravated” in some circumstances, increasing the penalties. Individuals may face harsher penalties if they:
- Violate a Court Order Prohibiting the Ownership of Firearms
- Violate a Protective Order with a Previous Conviction for Stalking
- Violate a Domestic Violence Protective Order
- Violating a Protective Order Involving Elder Abuse or Dependent Adult Abuse
These aggravated circumstances can lead to a jail sentence of 1 year. If an individual is convicted of another violation for a domestic, dependent adult, or elder abuse the charges can be prosecuted as a felony. A felony conviction can lead to:
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Prison Time: Up to 3 Years
PC 166: Building a Legal Defense
As you can see, a PC 166 conviction can have lasting impacts on your life. You can get help addressing these charges the right way by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Your lawyer can work to show:
You Didn’t Know You Were Violating a Court Order
Individuals must intentionally violate a court order to be convicted under PC 166. Sometimes, individuals are unaware of a court order because it was:
- Improperly Mailed
- Sent to the Wrong Person
Go over the facts of your case with a criminal defense lawyer if you did not receive notice that you were subject to a court order.
You Did Not Intend to Violate a Court Order
The court system should not convict individuals who accidentally violate a court order. For example, if you accidentally run into someone who has a protective order against you, you should not face criminal charges. Note, however, that it can be very difficult to prove that an accident led to a court order violation.
You Were Falsely Accused of Violating a Court Order
There are times when an individual is falsely accused of disobeying a court order. This may be more likely to happen due to the tension that led to the initial placement of the court order. A criminal defense lawyer can work to prove your innocence in this case.
Get Help Handling a PC 166 Charge in California
Individuals can be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 166 for violating a court order. PC 166 charges can also apply to contempt of court accusations. The Simmrin Law Group can help you handle these accusations, starting with a FREE consultation.
Call us at (310) 997-4688, or fill out our online contact form to get started.