When you have been charged with a criminal offense, your life can change if you do not take action. Unfortunately, when you go with a public defender, your case may not receive the attention it needs and deserves. When you have been accused of violating a court order under CA Penal Code 166, although you may not be charged with a violent crime, you could still face severe consequences if you are convicted.
For this reason, you must take steps to challenge the allegations against you. You can protect your future by working with an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney. Contact our team for a confidential consultation today to learn more about how you could defend yourself against CA PC 166 allegations.
Charges Under CA Penal Code 166
The California Penal Code for violating a court order can be found under PC 166. This can include any actions that could result in a contempt of court offense. Some examples could include the following:
- Refusing to comply with a judge’s order
- Making too much noise during court hearings
- Refusing to provide testimony as a subpoenaed witness
Violating a direct court order carries harsh penalties. Some of the common types of court orders people often fail to adhere to include the following:
- Restraining orders
- Child support orders
- Child custody and visitation orders
- Protective orders
- Stay away orders
How the Prosecutor Obtains a Conviction
The district attorney can only obtain a guilty verdict for a violation under California PC 166 if they can prove the elements of the offense have been met as follows:
- There was an existing court order.
- The defendant knew there was an existing court order.
- The defendant was capable of following the existing court order.
- The defendant intentionally and willfully violated an existing court order.
It is important to note that failure to follow the sentencing conditions does not constitute an offense under CA Penal Code 166. For example, if you were placed on probation and failed a drug test, you should not be found in violation of a court order.
However, suppose you were issued a stay-away order during a domestic violence case and were accused of contacting or attempting to contact the subject of the stay-away order. In that case, you could be accused of a violation under CA PC 166.
When Violating a Court Order Charges Apply
Here are some examples of when charges under California Penal Code 166 might apply.
Let us suppose one party has a protective order taken out against another, and they subsequently cross paths in a public place. Neither party should have charges brought against them for violating a court order since the violation was not intentional or willful.
Alternatively, suppose a man has a protective order against him due to domestic violence allegations. He may choose to contact the subject of the domestic violence protective order in an effort to reconcile the situation. However, if the order prohibits communication with the subject of the protective order, the man would violate a court order under CA PC 166.
It is natural to have concerns about how you will approach your defense when you are charged with violating a court order or believe these charges should not apply. Be sure to discuss these concerns and the circumstances of your case with your criminal defense attorney.
Similar Charges You Could Be Facing
You could be charged with multiple criminal offenses in conjunction with a California Penal Code 166 violation. Examples of such charges could include:
- Violating a restraining order under California PC 273.6
- Violating the terms of your probation under California PC 1203.2
- Failure to pay spousal or child support under California PC 166.5
Criminal Penalties You Need to Prepare For
Violating a court order is a wobbler offense, which means you could face felony or misdemeanor charges based on the individual details of your case. Some of the factors that may be taken into consideration when determining how you should be charged include the following:
- Your criminal history
- The type of court order you are accused of violating
- Whether anyone was injured or killed
- Whether you used a deadly weapon
If you are charged with a misdemeanor under CA PC 166, you could expect to face one or more of the following penalties:
- Up to one year in a county jail
- Fines up to $1,000
- Summary probation
If you are charged with a felony under California Penal Code 166, the penalties will be more severe. Potential consequences could include:
- Up to three years in a California state prison
- Fines up to $10,000
- Formal probation
If there are aggravating factors present, you will likely be charged at the felony level. Your Los Angeles DUI lawyer will work diligently to get the charges against you reduced to a misdemeanor or lesser offense so you can avoid some of the more severe consequences of a criminal conviction.
How to Defend Yourself Against These Allegations
One of the top ways to defend yourself when you have been accused of violating a court order under California PC 166 is to challenge that the elements of the offense have been met. Your attorney should show that you had no intent to violate a court order, the prosecutor should not move forward with the case against you, or the charges should be dismissed entirely.
It is also possible that false allegations of court order violations could have been made. This occasionally happens in domestic violence cases when one party attempts to get the other in trouble with the law.
Your attorney will carefully consider the specific details of your case to determine which defenses are most likely to result in your acquittal. You can rely on us to help you figure out how to clear your name when facing criminal contempt of court charges.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer for Help Today
Charges under CA Penal Code 166 may seem minor, but the consequences of a conviction will affect you for the rest of your life. For this reason, you must be proactive and fight for your freedom. Work with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer to present a compelling defense strategy.
We can further discuss which options are most likely to produce a favorable outcome in your case when you contact our team for a confidential consultation. You can reach us through our online contact form or phone to get started on your defense strategy as soon as today.