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What Happens if I Am Charged with Criminal Contempt of Court in New York State?

Being charged with criminal contempt of court should be avoided at all costs. This is because the penalties for this charge will be piled onto the potential penalties you will receive in your underlying legal proceedings. But, if you happen to find yourself in this situation, follow along to understand how a seasoned Rockland County criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway can fight on your behalf.

What is considered a criminal contempt of court charge in New York state?

In New York state, a judge will charge you with criminal contempt of court if you behaved in a manner that defied or disrespected the court’s authority and ultimately impaired their ability to properly administer justice. This charge is commonly used as a preventative measure, to deter you from any future acts of contempt during your underlying legal proceedings.

With that being said, if you are incarcerated during your proceedings due to this conviction, you cannot negotiate your release even if you promise to cooperate with the court. Also, you will have the suffer the consequences of this charge even if your underlying proceedings resulted in your favor.

Additionally, New York state differentiates between a direct and an indirect criminal contempt of court. They read as follows:

  • Direct criminal contempt of court: you behaved poorly in the presence of the court and thus interrupted the proceedings (i.e., you shouted profanities at the judge during your hearing).
  • Indirect criminal contempt of court: you behaved poorly outside the immediate presence of the court, but still negatively impacted the proceedings (i.e., you inappropriately communicated with the jurors outside the courtroom). This offense needs to be proven with testimony from third parties.

What if I am charged with criminal contempt of court?

Unfortunately, if you are charged with criminal contempt of court, you will likely be sentenced to jail time and/or a fine. Notably, your incarceration may begin immediately after, or even before, the charge is adjudicated and the sentence is decided.

You must be aware that you hold the same constitutional rights as a criminal defendant with this conviction, so you should use this to your advantage. Your rights read as follows:

  • You maintain the right to counsel.
  • You maintain the right to put on a defense.
  • You maintain the right to a jury trial.
  • Your crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you wish to reduce or altogether eliminate the penalties placed against you, do not hesitate in retaining the services of a competent Rockland County criminal & municipal attorney today.


Attorney Conway is a Spring Valley criminal attorney and is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. Contact The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway for a free consultation today.

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