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Contempt of Court and Interfering with Judicial Proceedings as Domestic Violence Offenses

“I got charged with IJP, but I don’t know what it means!”

The contempt of court and interfering with judicial proceedings charges are issued when there has been an order from the court prohibiting a person from doing something. Usually, it has something to do with having contact with an alleged victim in a previous case or going to a prohibited location in a previous case.

A common scenario is as follows: a person is arrested and booked into jail, and while he is at jail he is told his release conditions over video and given a scrawled handwritten piece of paper with the release conditions written on it. Because of the confusion and stress of being jailed, and not being able to hear over the video and the insanity of being jailed over a misdemeanor offense, the person does not understand that the release conditions don’t allow contact with his wife or girlfriend and that he cannot go back home. This means that if he calls or goes home anyway, he is instantly handed the new charge of violating the release conditions court order occurs and a new domestic violence offense occurs.

Why Domestic Violence?

In this scenario, no one was hit or hurt so where then does the domestic violence charge come from? It comes from the relationship between the accused and the alleged victim. If there is a family or intimate partner relationship between the two participants, a crime will always have the DV tag attached to it.

Another way this commonly occurs is when an order of protection is sought and given to a person against another but then the order of protection seeker changes her mind and calls the soon to be accused and says something like “hey, come on over, let’s watch TV or have a drink”. Then, if a fight ensues, a domestic violence charge can occur from it.
Are there defenses to this charge?

Yes, yes and yes. There are always defenses to charges. Sometimes, lawyers successfully argue that the accused was called to the location to assist the wife and children in some financial or household task that could not be completed without them. Sometimes the orders are not served properly or are just plain incomprehensible. Don’t ever immediately assume an order is valid it is always a good idea to meet with a criminal defense attorney and have them review it so you don’t end up catching an unexpected charge!

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