Contempt of Court
The most common kind of contempt in juvenile court happens when a defendant does not follow the rules the judge gives. Contempt is a completely new charge and even if the defendant is found not guilty of the original charge, it is still possible to be found guilty of contempt.
Different counties may call these rules different names, like pre-trial orders or court ordered terms. The rules are usually written out and the juvenile and the parents have to sign them. By signing they are saying that they understand the rules and will abide by them. Some common rules are as follows:
- No behavior violations in school
- Obey the rules of parents or guardians
- No contact with victims or witnesses in the case
- No contact with co-defendants
- No alcohol, drugs, or tobacco
- Commit no new crimes
- House arrest
- Have no unexcused absences or tardies at school
Generally, the parent or person that the defendant is living with will be told to act as the probation officer to the child. If the parent becomes aware that the defendant is not following the court’s rules and does not notify the prosecutor, the parent can be held in contempt and can go to jail.
When a parent knows that the defendant is not following the court’s rules, the parent has to notify the court, usually through the prosecutor's office. Generally the parent will go to the prosecutor’s office and fill out a form called an affidavit. In that affidavit the parent will write down exactly what their child is doing, if they are refusing to go to school, drinking, staying out past curfew, or any other violations.
There are other ways that a juvenile can be charged with contempt. A person from the school can fill out an affidavit saying that the defendant is not behaving in school or not coming to school. The prosecutor can be told about a drug screen that showed the defendant had been using drugs. Any time a defendant does not follow the court’s rules, he can be held in contempt.